Nunavik loses Kuujjuaq-based prosecutor position

But Quebec bumps number of prosecutors serving region from two to three

The courthouse in Kuujjuaq. The building used to be staffed by a full-time Crown prosecutor who served the community and region. Now that job is based outside of the region. (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)

By SARAH ROGERS

KUUJJUAQ—Makivik Corp. says a decision to pull the only Crown prosecutor position based in Nunavik does not bode well for the delivery of justice in the region.

Although Quebec’s Ministry of Justice made no formal announcement, the courthouse in Kuujjuaq no longer has a Crown prosecutor on staff to serve the community and region.

A spokesperson for Quebec’s office of criminal and penal prosecutions (Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales or DPCP) told Nunatsiaq News that the office did not remove a prosecutor’s position, but rather increased the number of prosecutors serving the region from two to three—though they are all now based outside Nunavik.

“Although a prosecutor does not reside on-site, the DPCP will continue to offer its services on a permanent basis,” said spokesperson Jean Pascal Boucher in an email.

Boucher said that having three prosecutors working in the region would allow them to travel outside scheduled court weeks to meet witnesses, victims or community members if required.

Makivik lawyer François Dorval said the organization first heard about the change at Kuujjuaq’s courthouse this past fall. When Makivik inquired, Dorval said they were told it was an “administrative decision” and a “temporary measure.”

The long-time Kuujjuaq-based prosecutor Jean-Claude Latraverse continues to serve the region, but no longer from Nunavik.

“Right from the get-go, we indicated that it doesn’t make sense to close that office,” Dorval said.

“The decision to do that comes with no consultation with us. It’s totally unacceptable and it goes against what the region needs and what we’ve been asking for.”

Dorval pointed to a handful of reports prepared in recent years, including by Quebec’s bar association and its ombudsman’s office, which have all recommended Nunavik’s justice system needs to have more permanent staff based in Nunavik.

Currently, many of the staff who serve Nunavik’s justice system are based in Quebec’s Abitibi region, the administrative hub for Nunavik’s mobile court.

“What we’re looking for is more people living in the region,” Dorval said.

“Knowing people in the community makes a big difference in your decision to press charges … or how to prosecute a case.”

Makivik plans to send a complaint in writing to Quebec’s Ministry of Justice before the end of the year.

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(5) Comments:

  1. Posted by disorganized much on

    There was old warrant being issued since last May 2018, and one of the suspect has been attending his regular order to appear in court, how blind is justice?!

    And suspect was recently postponed to January 2019, yet, are they blind?!

    This is so cruel and racial. Makivik please speed up your complaints vs Quebec Justice blind system!

  2. Posted by the clowns goes with the flow on

    They have a very weird lawyers that don’t even support their clients, they don’t even defend the court, what law is this?

    • Posted by disorganized much on

      you meant Lawyers don’t defend their suspects vs the court Judge?

      Very much, we need to speed up, common’ Makivik officials go visit and listen to the suspects that are detained, and the guards thinks they are highest, and refuses to give or take messages for the detainees, yes, thanks to them, they have jobs and getting paid!

  3. Posted by Defence Please on

    The region needs in community defence council even more. The defence travel with the circuit court and should be considered legally contaminated.

  4. Posted by Ghost on

    It’s not about just the inmates
    And system in upnorth
    It is really fu&@-up system
    I think it’s really racial system
    Prosecutors/crowns agreeing with the lawyers
    About sentencing even though lawyers
    Have to defend their clients fight for their clients these days they just trying to agree like we don’t have our rights like we don’t understand French or English
    They only think we’re gonna say yes to them I’ve been there few times with few different lawyers some lawyers think we just gonna say yes and then trying to agree with crowns/prosecutors just like we don’t understand French and English
    Ive been in those cells or behind bars I’ve heard so much different stories asking different stories different person
    Most of the inmates who goes back their
    Always explain to new inmates
    All the inmates all the court system all the lawyers and crowns/prosecutors
    I think every almost every Inuit inmate always talks unless those are who have serious charges yea everyone talks unless they have rape/sexual/molest charges I’ve been there done that
    It’s not like in the city here in up north or Cree nations it is really late system
    And lawyers trying to agree with their clients and prosecutors/crowns
    No wonder some quebecers like provincial instead of federal
    This got to be changed no
    Wonder some Inuit/eskimos being sent down cuz there not understating the system I’m sorry just saying cuz it is really true

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