Allison Jones, The Canadian Press
Revealed Wednesday, December four, 2019 12:14PM EST
TORONTO — Ontario’s auditor normal says a backlog of felony circumstances within the courtroom system is rising, and courtrooms solely function for a median of two.eight hours a day.
Bonnie Lysyk’s annual report checked out varied features of the justice system, together with felony and household courts, jails and detention centres, in addition to coroners’ operations.
She discovered that many of the highest-billing coroners, who’re additionally physicians, carried out demise investigations on their very own sufferers final yr.
The report additionally says that Workplace of the Chief Coroner would not have procedures for inventories of our bodies, resulting in some being discovered within the mistaken cooler.
Within the courts, Lysyk discovered that the variety of felony circumstances awaiting decision grew by 27 per cent to about 114,000 circumstances, whereas the common variety of days wanted to take care of a case grew by 9 per cent.
The Supreme Courtroom of Canada dominated in 2016 that circumstances should be handled in sure time frames or be tossed, and Lysyk says 191 circumstances in Ontario have been stayed within the final three years due to that.
However getting detailed data proved tough, Lysyk mentioned, because the chief justices of the provincial and Superior courts, in addition to employees on the Ministry of the Legal professional Common refused to offer the auditor’s investigators sure data.
“We respect the confidentiality below which the courts should function and the independence of the judiciary, however the Auditor Common Act does give us the statutory authority to evaluation authorities spending,” Lysyk mentioned.
“As well as, we routinely study confidential information from a broad vary of presidency operations, and we have now by no means violated any confidentiality.”
The delays are evident within the province’s grownup correctional amenities too, with 71 per cent of inmates being on remand, which implies they have not been convicted or sentenced, Lysyk discovered. That share is up from 60 per cent in 2004-2005.
As nicely, a rising variety of inmates have a psychological well being alert on their file, and segregation is getting used to restrict a few of these individuals as a consequence of a scarcity of specialised care beds, the auditor discovered.
Within the household courts, about one-quarter of the 5,249 little one safety circumstances had been pending for greater than 18 months – some for greater than three years.
Courtrooms throughout the province are in operation for a median of simply 2.eight hours a day, the auditor discovered, nicely under the ministry’s optimum common of four.5 hours.
And the courtroom system stays closely paper-based, Lysyk mentioned, with paper making up greater than 96 per cent of the paperwork filed in Ontario’s courtroom system in 2018-19.