Canada

CBC gets new Westray report

It won't be released until next week, but CBC News has learned that the report into the bungled Westray prosecution is finished and calls for 16 changes to the Nova Scotia Justice System.

The prosecution of Westray mine managers Roger Perry and Gerald Phillips ended in a stay of proceedings after a judge ruled there was not enough evidence to support the charges against them.

The ruling outraged families of the 26 men killed in the 1992 mine disaster and prompted a review of how prosecutors handled the case.

The report carries 16 recommendations, here are a few of them:

  • Prosecutors should hire consultants or experts when they face complex cases like Westray.

  • A team of elite prosecutors be trained to be ready when major cases develop and that incentives be put in place to encourage prosecutors to join that team.

  • When necessary, the public prosecution service have the ability to bring in outside legal expertise on short notice.

    "The first thing that comes to my mind is why don't they have them now," said veteran defence attorney Joel Pink when he looked at the recommendations. "I think if all these recommendations were implemented that we would have a Cadillac type of Department of Public Prosecutions."

    Justice Minister Michael Baker will not comment on the recommendations until they are officially released. The full report on the Westray prosecution is due to be made public next Wednesday.