Bay Roberts lawyer decries court closure
Reaction to the 2016 provincial budget continues to pour in, with a Bay Roberts lawyer bemoaning the Liberal government’s decision to close provincial court in Harbour Grace.
“The services that are going to be terminated will be a pretty big hit to the area,” said John Brown. “That building has been administrating justice in the area since the area was speaking French.”
Court services were moved out of the old stone building earlier this year and into the Babb Building in Harbour Grace.
On Apr. 14, government approved the closure of the Harbour Grace court along with three other courthouses. It’s a move that is expected to save the province $1.3 million annually starting next year. Prior to moving into the Babb Building, renovations were made to the space that cost the province $48,000.
Meanwhile, the annual lease on the property is approximately $280,000.
“It’s the second or third of its size in the province,” said Brown. “We don’t have a lot of courts and it’s a very busy court.”
To the best of his knowledge, Brown believes either courts in Clarenville or St. John’s will work to fill the void left by the impending closure of the Harbour Grace court.
Then there’s policing matters. Having a local RCMP travelling to either of these places leaves detachments in Bay 709-683-8676 PamelaNorman@ExitRealtyNL. www.TeamNorman.ca Pam Norman Real Estate Roberts and Harbour Grace short on members should they be required to attend court.
“The closure affects all sorts of things,” said Brown.
Along with the RCMP issue, he mentioned additional charges for clients when it comes to paying lawyers, government travel rates and other items.
Brown also noted the rate at which cases are completed will be affected. With no court in Harbour Grace, trips to St. John’s would potentially delay proceedings.
“The loss is going to result in a decrease in speed of services,” he said. “It hurts business. It’s a drastic disservice to the people. It’s a huge loss of service. “It’s pretty devastating.” Brown is in the process of writing a book on the stone courthouse on Harvey Street. Built in 1830, the Harbour Grace courthouse is the oldest public ince.
“It was going to be a book. Maybe now, it’ll be a death notice,” said Brown.
A rally in support of the courthouse is scheduled for Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. this week. NAPE, a union representing courthouse employees, hopes to push government into reconsidering its decision. building in the prov-
Bay Roberts lawyer John Brown is against the planned closure of the Harbour Grace courthouse.