Justice system delays predicted to become more common
The lawyer who runs the legal aid program for central Newfoundland says provincial spending cuts will inevitably mean delays in the justice system.
Ray Kuszelewski told CBC News that the Gander area alone is losing a sheriff, a Crown attorney, a clerk and a half-time secretary.
"We will literally now go in to the courtroom and say, 'Your honour, we cannot deal with this manner today — we have no personnel,' " said Kuszelewski, whose work often entails representing accused during court proceedings.
"The Crown will be saying basically the same thing."
Kuszelewski said the $1.4 million cut for the Legal Aid Commission will mean a higher workload on those are who still on staff.
Meanwhile, the union representing many court workers says overtime costs will mount in the wake of layoffs.
NAPE says 20 of the active sheriffs in the St. John's area have received layoff notices.
President Carol Furlong said managers recently sent an email to the sheriffs asking for volunteers to work overtime this coming weekend. Most of the layoffs are effective this Friday.
"The layoffs aren’t even fully in effect yet and already the system can’t handle the mess created by government’s layoff fiasco," Furlong said in a statement.
"If this wasn’t so sad and pathetic it would be a joke."