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Alberta gets 5 new judges, but says still working to fix critical trial delays

Last Updated Oct 20, 2016 at 3:39 pm MDT


Alberta has gained a measure of relief as it battles a shortage of judges that threatens to toss more criminal cases out of court.

The federal government has announced it is filling five vacancies on Alberta’s superior courts.

Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley says that’s welcome help but the judge shortage still exists and the province will take measures to ensure violent cases aren’t tossed out because of delays.

Ganley says the government plans to work with prosecutors and police to ensure serious cases are heard faster, with other cases moved to dispute resolution or resolved by other means if necessary.

She says a recent Supreme Court ruling has brought matters to a head by imposing hard time limits on how long a person has to wait to have a case heard in court.

Earlier this month in Edmonton, a man accused of murder in a prison stabbing had his case tossed out because it took more than five years to get to trial, violating his right to have his case heard within a reasonable time.