Ottawa names four Quebec Superior Court justices

Ottawa names four Quebec Superior Court justices

OTTAWA — Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould named four new Quebec judges on Thursday in order to fill critical gaps in the province’s justice system after a landmark Supreme Court decision last summer.

Karen Rogers, Christine Baudouin, Frederic Bachand and Daniel Royer will sit as Superior Court justices, Wilson-Raybould said.

“I am very pleased with (these) substantive new judges that we announced today in Quebec,” Wilson-Raybould told reporters. “This brings the vacancy in Quebec down to two. I am committed to ensuring to fill those two vacancies.”

She said her department has not made any decisions with regard to Quebec’s request for 10 additional Superior Court justices, including the two Ottawa intends to name.

The federal government believes it is responsible for filling roughly 180 positions across the province.

Quebec, however, says it needs additional Superior Court justices to ensure the province is adhering to the Supreme Court ruling, which capped the length of trials in order to respect a defendant’s charter rights.

The country’s high court ruled that legal proceedings can’t exceed 18 months in provincial court and 30 months in Superior Court.

Quebec is just one of many provinces where more judges are required. As a consequence of the ruling, suspected criminals across the country have been set free because the length of their trials exceeded the legal limit.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government was responsible for filling six vacant justice positions in Quebec.

“We have just filled four of those with extraordinarily exceptional people,” he said in Montreal. “Yes, we do need to appoint two more, and we will do it in a responsible way and, hopefully, very soon.

“We’ve put in place a more independent, less partisan process for appointments than the previous government (had). We’re drawing on a broad range of Canada’s diversity of perspective, of expertise, to serve at all different levels and we’re very proud of our appointment process.”

The Canadian Press
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