Surrey court dedicated for domestic violence

Surrey Provincial Court now has a dedicated courtroom, judge and duty counsel to speed up domestic violence-related cases that are going through that court.
By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver
Wednesday, June 1, 2016 4:58:08 PDT PM
The remand court, which opened on Wednesday, was an initiative proposed by prosecutors working out of B.C.’s busiest courthouse and will take on all domestic cases from introduction up until the point someone goes to trial or pleads guilty for the next nine months.
Dan McLaughlin, Crown spokesman, said the top priority of the courtroom will be to get domestic violence cases to trial as quickly as possible.
“In domestic violence cases, the first thing that we see is the police will release a person on conditions, generally that they have no contact, there’s prohibitions, often times, on where that person can go, and there’s tremendous disruption in the family unit,” he said.
“Very often, one of the first things we see are applications to vary the bail, to allow for, in some cases, limited access whether to other family members or the residence ... those applications are assisted tremendously by having duty counsel available to an accused person so they can get into position to make those applications (quickly).”
McLaughlin said Surrey was chosen as the location for the pilot project as it’s the busiest courthouse in the province and has a “significant percentage” of domestic violence cases.
“If they are successful in Surrey, I don’t see why it couldn’t be expanded to other areas. But those aren’t things we’ve considered at this stage,” he added.