B.C. goes to court against its own prosecutors over handling bail hearings
A fight between the B.C. government and its Crown prosecutors over a measure to tighten up bail in serious crimes is headed to court.
Last year, the B.C. government ordered Crown prosecutors to staff bail hearings for people accused of serious crimes when they happen outside regular court hours. After-hours hearings had been handled by police officers.
Now the B.C. Public Service Agency has filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court. It argues efforts to change how bail is handled by B.C. prosecutors in serious criminal cases will fail under a recent arbitrator’s order that required the province to first negotiate with its prosecutors on the terms and conditions of staffing after hours the hearings.
The province is asking for the courts to block the arbitrator’s decision immediately, pending a full judicial review.
“Irreparable harm will occur if a stay is not granted because it will halt a program that was created in furtherance of the public interest,” the province said in its petition, adding the program would ensure that Crown prosecutors conduct bail hearings in all indictable, or serious, matters, including outside of regular court sitting hours.