In-cus­tody tri­als to re­sume next month

The Chronicle Herald (Provincial) - - NEWS -

Some tri­als and pre­lim­i­nary in­quiries in pro­vin­cial court for peo­ple who are in cus­tody will re­sume begin­ning June 1, pro­vid­ing pub­lic health di­rec­tives on COVID-19 can be fol­lowed.

A news re­lease from the Nova Sco­tia ju­di­ciary Thurs­day said the chief jus­tices and chief judge met last week with pub­lic health of­fi­cials to dis­cuss when it might be safe for the courts to start re­turn­ing to nor­mal op­er­a­tions.

“Any ex­pan­sion of court ser­vices will be grad­ual and must con­sider the on­go­ing pub­lic health di­rec­tives re­lated to so­cial dis­tanc­ing, dis­in­fect­ing pro­ce­dures, good hand hy­giene and other pre­cau­tions to pro­tect the health and safety of those work­ing in and at­tend­ing the court­houses,” the re­lease said.

The pro­vin­cial court, when reschedul­ing cases, will give pri­or­ity to in-cus­tody tri­als and pre­lim­i­nary in­quiries. New cases and mat­ters pre­vi­ously ad­journed un­til June and July will be heard by tele­phone.

“For in-cus­tody tri­als and pre­lim­i­nary in­quiries, the judge will hold a pre-trial hear­ing with coun­sel to de­ter­mine whether the nec­es­sary pre­cau­tions can be put in place to pro­ceed safely,” the re­lease said.

“Whether the mat­ter can pro­ceed will de­pend on sev­eral fac­tors, in­clud­ing its ur­gency, its com­plex­ity, the num­ber of peo­ple in­volved, the size and lay­out of the court­room where the mat­ter will be heard, and staffing.”

Bail hear­ings and peace bond hear­ings in pro­vin­cial court will con­tinue to be heard vir­tu­ally by tele­phone and video con­fer­enc­ing. All tri­als and pre­lim­i­nary hear­ings where the ac­cused in­di­vid­ual is not in cus­tody will be ad­journed to a later date.

“The res­o­lu­tion of nonur­gent mat­ters re­mains a pri­or­ity for the pro­vin­cial court,' the no­tice said. “Coun­sel are en­cour­aged to con­tinue re­view­ing their mat­ters to see what can be re­solved with­out an in-per­son hear­ing.”

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