Court delays are intolerable

Court delays are intolerable

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Once again, a dark shadow has been cast over the justice system for its tolerance of long court delays.

Case in point: David Wesley Bobbitt who was picked up near Oliver in the summer of 2011 and still hasn’t been brought to trial. The former second hand store operator from Penticton is charged with the vicious sex assault and beating of a young mother in July of 2011. She was attacked in Dave’s Second Hand Store, confined to a bed and severely assaulted for several hours in front of her young son.

The length of time this case has been delayed is intolerable. Even a BC Supreme Court judge has expressed frustration over this, noting there have been several attempts to fix a trial date since the summer of 2012.

Bobbitt’s defence lawyer James Pennington has once again requested a delay – this time to February 25 (to set a trial date or plead guilty). Let’s hope for the latter in order to spare the victim and her family from further pain and humiliation.

Although still incarcerated, Bobbitt has all of the rights (and protections) in the world, while the victim still hasn’t found justice or closure. It’s the same old story – delay the case as long as possible. The longer the case drags on, the more money is made and the more people’s memories start to fade (details become less clear, which makes it easy to question during trial). Or, if the delay is too long, you may get the case thrown out, which has happened before.

The courts should no longer tolerate these delays. The defence should be given a strict deadline to be ready for trial, particularly in cases with aggravating circumstances.

Hiring more judges or court staff is not the only answer in speeding up trials. There has to be a change in attitude, where the victims’ rights are paramount. They always say the accused has a right to a fair trial, but when do you ever hear about the victim’s right to swift justice? It’s all about the accused, while the victim waits quietly in the corner still suffering from the ordeal.

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