Early plea bargains to be offered
HALIFAX - Nova Scotia prosecutors will offer early plea bargains in minor criminal cases in an attempt to meet Supreme Court of Canada demands for speedier trials.
Chief Judge Pamela Williams says a working group she chairs is launching a new effort to swiftly resolve “relatively straightforward matters’’ in the Halifax area.
A Supreme Court ruling last July has left provinces scrambling to dispose of the backlog of criminal charges. In a handful of cases, including a first-degree murder trial, charges have been stayed or withdrawn on the grounds that the defendant’s right to a speedy trial had been violated.
In a memo to Nova Scotia’s criminal lawyers, the provincial court chief judge says the program is meant for offences like breaching a court order, failing a breathalyzer test, and low-level assaults.