Judge Warns Province There is Not Enough Courtroom Space in Brampton
When it comes to adequately funding our police officers, you would find very few people going against that idea especially in light of recent concerns over public safety in Brampton.
What you may not be as familiar with is that the administrative resources required to dispel proper justice may not be as adequately kept up or properly funded as one would believe.
In a scathing series of remarks made during a session in court on Monday, November 19, Ontario Superior Court Judge Peter Daley lambasted the provincial government for the state of conditions in the Brampton courthouse, located at the intersection of Hurontario Street and Ray Lawson Boulevard.
Here’s a brief summation of Judge Daley’s comments on the situation:
The judge begins by explaining the reasoning behind delays in hearings on future Brampton matters and why they have to regularly transfer cases outside of Brampton.
This is due to the lack of available hearing rooms and judicial office space. The courthouse facility was too small shortly after it was opened in 2000, and remains grossly undersized to accommodate people of Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon.
Daley said they have been trying to work with the Attorney General’s office, in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding between the AG and the Chief Justice from 2008, but with little or no success.
“Despite all of these efforts, and due to the inaction and, willful blindness on the part of the provincial government to address these space challenges, we are now faced with very real and unacceptable delays in the hearing of all matters in Brampton,” Daley continues.
Daley said the AG’s office declined to send a legal representative to hear his concerns, “in spite of the fact that the province of Ontario remains in breach of both its constitutional and statutory duties to provide suitable courthouse facilities for the citizens of Ontario in Brampton and elsewhere.”
“Furthermore, section 71(c) of the Courts of Justice Act requires that the administration of the courts be carried out in such a manner that the public’s access to the courts and public confidence in the court is upheld.”
You can read the entire transcript of Judge Daley’s comments below:
Daley also mentioned that in light of the current status of the courthouse, certain civil and family cases will have to be transferred to court facilities at 393 University Avenue in downtown Toronto. Two courtrooms on the 19th floor of 393 University Avenue will be regularly scheduled for Brampton civil and family matters until at least September 2019.
Other places that cases in Brampton have been sent to were Orangeville, Milton and even Kitchener.
According to the background provided, these problems predate the current Tory government. Daley himself said that “the chronic shortage of office space has been an issue the Ministry has been well aware of since at least 2011.”
But that didn’t stop Brampton MPP Sara Singh from blaming the government for their inaction.
Daniel Brown, a criminal defence lawyer and a spokesman for the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, said in this online law publication that the problem with the Brampton courthouse are leading to greater issues with access to justice.
He says the move by Daley to share the remarks is unprecedented. “What Justice Daley was very concerned about is the under-funding and under-resourcing of the Superior Court of Justice in the Peel Region because it’s leading to significant problems,” says Brown.
He says there isn’t enough court space at the Brampton courthouse, even with a “multi-million-dollar renovation” that occurred. “They’ve only decided to fill two of the six floors with courtrooms. The other four floors of space are just empty shells and will remain that way. There’s no plans to fill that space at this time,” Brown continued.
Jess Trepanier, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Caroline Mulroney, said that the ministry “will continue to review and respond to the facility needs of the Brampton courthouse as we move forward.”
“We are working every day to clean up the financial mess the Liberals have left Ontario in, and that includes finding ways to deliver efficient and effective services that meet the needs of Ontarians,” she said.
It’s no question that if you’re a Bramtpon resident and you need to go to court for whatever reason, and knowing that an Ontario courthouse is located right in the city, you would prefer to have your case heard and dealt with in Brampton.
Photo courtesy of Infrastructure Ontario
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