Shortage of staff in courthouses: two accused of pimping could get away with it

Two Montrealers accused of pimping and possession of weapons could get away with it because of the delays caused, among other things, by the lack of court clerks.

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“This systemic delay directly undermines the integrity of the justice system and undermines public trust,” said Ms.e Alexandre Goyette in his application for a stay of proceedings.

For nearly a month, the lawyer has been trying to obtain the release on bail of two residents of the Pierrefonds district of Montreal, aged 24 and 25 and arrested in connection with pimping, extortion, possession of drugs as well as for having illegally possessed a prohibited firearm.

However, if the law provides for a three-day period for an accused to undergo a bail hearing, they are unable to have a hearing before a judge. First because of discussions, then because of postponements. On May 10, the defendants wanted to set a hearing date, but it was too complicated because of the Crown prosecutor who was teleworking.

No clerk

The two men were finally due to appear before a judge last Friday, but due to a lack of available support staff, the hearing was canceled.

“The court was unable to hear [les accusés] due to a lack of a clerk,” laments Mr.e Goyette in his request.

Believing that the constitutional rights of the two alleged pimps were violated, the lawyer therefore claims that the charges fall.

“Only a stay of proceedings is an appropriate remedy,” he said. The problem of non-compliance with the three-day deadline for holding a release hearing in Montreal is daily, systemic and involves multiple files. »

He is expected to plead his case in front of a judge today.

Mass departures

This motion for a stay of proceedings is the first in Quebec to directly implicate the lack of court support staff. And the situation is only getting worse, according to information obtained by The newspaper.

Since last year, more than 200 people have left their jobs at the Montreal courthouse. In Quebec as a whole, we are talking about more than 500 departures.

The judiciary has been alerting the Ministry of Justice for two years, but to date, all initiatives have proved futile. All the stakeholders question the salaries offered by Quebec, which are well below those offered at the federal, municipal and private levels.

Essential employees

In an interview at Log Last week, the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Quebec, Jacques R. Fournier, recalled the essential work of support staff, including court ushers, judicial assistants and special constables.

“It takes people who have good training, but they don’t come,” he lamented. And as soon as there is a competition in the City [où les conditions sont meilleures], they leave. »

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