Supreme Court of BC Notice Regarding Criminal Proceedings Resumption of Some Regular Court Operations

  • May 14, 2020

COVID-19 Notice No. 21
Date: May 14, 2020

This notice supplements COVID-19 Notice No. 18 – Notice of Suspension of Regular Court Operations –Criminal Proceedings

Effective March 19, 2020 and until further notice, the Honourable Chief Justice Hinkson suspended regular operations of the Supreme Court of British Columbia at all of its locations to protect the health and safety of court users and to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

The Court is now working toward the resumption of regular court operations. This notice gives directions about criminal proceedings scheduled for June 1, 2020 and following. Further directions about court operations will beforthcoming, and members of the profession, the public and the media shouldcontinue to monitor the Court’s website regularly for updates.

I. MATTERS BEING HEARD DURING SUSPENSION OF OPERATIONS

The Court continues to hear the following:

  • Criminal matters asset outin Parts I and II of COVID-19 Notice No.18 (urgent and essential criminal matters, fix-date appearances, pre-trial conferences, and summary conviction and traffic ticket appeals);
  • COVID-19 Pre-Trial Conferences, as set out in COVID-19 Notice No.16; and
  • Applications under s. 490 of the Criminal Code, as set out in COVID-19 Notice No. 3.

The processes described in the notices listed abovewill remain in place until further notice. The Court also continues to hear other matters in specific criminal cases, as directed by judges of the Court.

I. SCHEDULED CRIMINAL MATTERS IN JUNE 2020

Matters scheduled for June 1-5

Unless the Court (including the assigned or seized judge)otherwise directs, all criminal trials, voir dires and pre-trial applications, and extradition hearings, scheduled to be heard between June 1 and June 5, 2020, are adjournedto the fix-date list of the court location where the matter was scheduled to be heard, on the dates set out in Appendix A to this Notice. The fix-date appearances will be by telephone, with self-represented accused persons in custody appearing by video.

To preserve jurisdiction, a bench warrant will be issued for all accused persons whose scheduled appearances between June 1 and 5, 2020are adjourned. The bench warrant will be held and not executed until the date of the fix-date appearance. If the accused person appears personally or through counsel on that date, the bench warrant will be vacated.

If Crown or defence counsel or an accused not represented by counsel wish, they may book a COVID-19 Pre-trial Conference, to take place before May 27, by following the process set out in COVID-19 Notice No. 16, to determine whether the trial or a portion thereof may proceed as scheduled between June 1-5.They may alternatively arrange a pre-trial conference before the assigned or seized judge to canvass whether the matter will proceed.

Matters scheduled for June 8 and following

At this point, the Court expects to proceed with criminal trials, voir dires and pre-trial applications, and extradition hearings scheduled to begin on or after June 8, 2020. However, the situation will continue to be assessed, taking into account the many factors affecting the Court’s capacity to hear these types of matters during the pandemic.

All jury selections are canceled up to and including September 7, 2020 everywhere in the province.

The Court continues to work with the Court Services Branchof the Ministry of Attorney General, which is making changes and improvements to courthouse and courtroom facilities and to in-court technology to accommodate court appearances consistent with public health and safety recommendations, the rights and interests of those involved, and the open court principle. The Court’s approximately 100 courtrooms are being assessed and modified for physical distancing, and some structural modifications may be necessary. Telephone and videoconferencing is operating at or near maximum current capacity. The Court also recognizes that the direct and indirect consequences of the public health emergency for individual staff and court participantswill also affect whether some cases can proceed as scheduled.

The Court will continue to explore every option to increase and fully resume its operations, and appreciates the patience and flexibility of court users during this challenging time.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated 14 May 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Associate Chief Justice Heather J. Holmes
Supreme Court of British Columbia

APPENDIX A

Campbell River Monday, July 13th at 10:00am (in Nanaimo)

Chilliwack Monday, June 15th at 2:00pm (in New Westminster)

Courtenay Monday, June 22nd at 10:00am (in Nanaimo)

Cranbrook Monday, July 13th at 2:00pm (in Kamloops)

Dawson Creek Monday, June 15th at 10:00am (in Prince George)

Duncan Wednesday, June 17th at 2:00pm (In Victoria)

Fort St. John Monday, June 29th at 10:00am (in Prince George)

Kamloops Monday, June 15th at 2:00pm

Kelowna Monday, June 15th at 10:00am

Nanaimo Monday, June 15th at 2:00pm

Nelson Monday, June 22nd at 2:00pm (in Kamloops)

New Westminster Thursday, June 18th at 2:00pm

Penticton No sittings

Port Alberni Monday, June 22nd at 10:00am (in Nanaimo)

Powell River Monday, July 6th at 10:00am (in Nanaimo)

Prince George Monday, June 15th at 9:30am

Prince Rupert No sittings

Quesnel Monday, June 15th at 10:00am (In Prince George)

Revelstoke Monday, July 20th at 10am (In Kamloops)

Rossland Monday, June 22nd at 2:00pm (In Kamloops)

Salmon Arm Tuesday, July 21st at 10:00am (In Kamloops)

Smithers No sittings

Terrace Tuesday, June 23rd at 10:00am (In Victoria)

Vancouver Wednesday, June 17th at 2:00pm

Vernon Monday, June 15th at 10:00 am (In Kelowna)

Victoria Wednesday, June 17th at 2:00pm

Williams Lake Monday, June 29th at 10:00am (In Prince George)