Sheriff, Justice Ministry find woman a place to stay during Victoria hearing

When Whitney Rae Furber attends her preliminary hearing in Victoria provincial court this week, she’ll stay at the West Shore RCMP detachment where she’ll be able to have a shower.

Victoria police have refused to house Furber, who is charged with the attempted murder of a bouncer at the Strathcona Hotel, saying its cell block is inadequate and unsuitable for anyone staying longer than 24 hours.

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Comment: B.C. should mitigate minimum sentences

British Columbia’s attorney general should take steps to minimize the costs of federally mandated minimum sentences in the province.

The federal government is responsible for passing criminal law, including the setting of penalties for particular offences. The provinces are responsible for the administration of justice, which includes the prosecution of criminal offences.

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Legal-aid dispute threatens hundreds of criminal trials

Legal-aid lawyers across B.C. are threatening to adjourn hundreds of criminal trials if they can’t reach a funding agreement with government.

The lawyers plan to adjourn six weeks of criminal cases, from shoplifting to murders, in courtrooms across the province from Oct. 7 to 10, if the Legal Services Society of B.C. can’t reach a deal with the Attorney General.

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Editorial: Make courts more efficient

The budget crunch facing the Justice Ministry is evidence of the need to get on with overhauling B.C.’s justice system. A system that handles cases reasonably quickly and efficiently will not only be more fair and effective, but will also be less costly.

And the Herculean task of cutting expenses would be significantly easier if the federal government had not imposed mandatory minimum sentences.

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