Ottawa's Crown prosecutors carry an average of 240 cases a year
Delays in the system led to a first-degree murder charge being stayed earlier this month.
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The average Crown prosecutor in Ottawa carries 244 cases a year – a situation that people in the justice system say is leading to delays and a clogged courthouse.
Earlier this month, Adam Picard, who was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Fouad Nayel, was released because it had taken four years to bring his case to trial.
Brendan Crawley, a spokesperson for Ontario's ministry of the attorney general, said the average
Crawley said that’s a simplified
“The assignment of each criminal case to individual Crowns is based on a number of factors, including the seriousness of the
Since 2014, there has been an average of 44 Crown attorneys in Ottawa, he added.
Kate Matthews, president of the Ontario Crown Attorney’s Association, said that’s a heavy case load and the cases are more complicated than they once were, with more video or technical evidence and other issues.
“The cases themselves are far more complicated, so it takes much longer to prepare,” she said. “That is not going to go way, cases are not going to get less complicated.”
She said most crowns are spending a significant amount of time in court, making it harder to prepare for cases.
Anne London-Weinstein, president of the Defence Counsel Association of Ottawa, said the issue with Crowns spreads to the rest of the system, with legal aid and other resources also underfunded.
“The overall atmosphere in criminal justice is that there is a lack of funding,” she said.
She said she wouldn’t speak for prosecutors, but can see they are handling much more work than they used to.
“I can see that the crowns have a lot more on their plate and I can see that they have less time.”