Special prosecutions team to focus on domestic violence cases
New Brunswick government to spent $1.3M over 3 years to hire 10 more Crown prosecutors, 4 support staff
New Brunswick will spend $1.3 million over the next three years on a special prosecutions team created to handle domestic and intimate partner violence court cases, assistant deputy attorney general Luc Labonté announced on Wednesday.
Some of the new unit's goals include ensuring matters go to trial in a timely manner, that victims' safety is of paramount concern and that sentencing recommendations for convicted offenders follow empirically based best practices, he said.
"The issue of intimate partner violence is of significant concern for everyone who works in the criminal justice system," said Labonté.
He noted Saint John and Moncton rank among the top eight cities in the country for reported cases of domestic and intimate partner violence, according to Statistics Canada.
The new unit, which is "already up and running," consists of experienced prosecutors and support staff from across the province, who will receive enhanced training and develop and implement consistent policies and practices, said Labonté.
Ten more Crown prosecutors and four support staff will be hired over the next three years to backfill staff assigned to the unit, at a cost of $1.3 million.
Public prosecution services created the unit based on a series of recommendations by a group formed last year to review how the Crown handles allegations of intimate partner violence, said Labonté.
His office has also consulted with academics and experts on the issue.
"We wanted to ensure that we were following best practices based upon empirical evidence and international experiences," he said.
"We are delighted that central government has seen the benefit of our proposal," he said, underscoring that his office is independent and doesn't take direction from government.
With files from Jacques Poitras