Justice system offers confusion, delays


The justice system provided its share of action, boredom and mishaps in a Kuujjuaq courtroom last week, including:

* The worst: the presence of an accused rapist and his victim in the same courtroom;
* No court worker for the Ungava Bay;
* No victims’ advocate present;
* A court docket full of no-shows, including one dead person;
* Barely comprehensible exchanges between people speaking their second languages. Words spoken by the francophone lawyers and judges in English are only translated into Inuttitut if requested;
* Poor organization, causing the judge to become impatient and say, “We don’t call up files two times, or we will waste time;”
* Questionable postponements due to absences, incomplete investigations, scheduling problems, lack of time and a rotation of four judges in the Ungava Bay traveling court;
* No involvement from Kuujjuaq leaders. When the judge wants to know more about the suitability of a conditional or suspended sentence, there’s no one from the community in the courtroom to advise whether it’s appropriate or not;
* Money wasted on travel. Eight corrections officers from the South travel with the court, and because remand prisoners may no longer stay in Nunavik for the weekend, offenders are flown back and forth between Amos and Kuujjuaq several times over short periods.

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