McNeil’s promise on hiring more sexual assault case prosecutors proves hollow

May 21, 2017 at 9:33 am

Vision: A Justice System Survivors of Sexual Assault and Abuse Can Count On

Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie condemned Stephen McNeil for his hollow promise to increase the number of prosecutors handling sexual assault cases.

At the height of public outrage about a high profile sexual assault case, the McNeil Liberals promised to hire two special prosecutors to deal with sexual assault cases. More than a month later, the truth came out.

According to an April 27th letter from the Director of Public Prosecutions, the two Crown Attorneys “will be based in Head Office,” and will “provide support, training, mentoring and specialized guidance to all Crown Attorneys” prosecuting sexual assault cases.

“I am appalled that the Liberals would play politics with sexual assault,” said Baillie. “By deliberately saying one thing and doing another, the McNeil Liberals will only decrease the confidence survivors of sexual assault have that justice will be done in Nova Scotia.”

The president of the Nova Scotia Crown Attorneys’ Association says Crown Attorneys across the province are “drowning” in work and that the new prosecutors are needed on the front-lines in courtrooms.

The Avalon Sexual Assault Centre says that incidents of sexualized violence are under-reported in our province and sexual assault levels in Nova Scotia are significantly higher than the national average.

“Our justice system doesn’t need more policymakers,” Baillie said. “We need these additional, qualified Crown Attorneys on the front lines. It’s time for real action, especially in the area of sexual assault.”
A Progressive Conservative government will build a justice system survivors of sexual assault can count on by:

  • requiring post-secondary institutions to develop comprehensive sexual violence policies;

  • passing the Dignity for Victims of Sexual Violence Act that enables survivors to access legal representation;

  • requiring provincial court judges to complete comprehensive and ongoing education on sexual assault law; and

  • restoring the Liberal cuts to the Boots on the Street program.

“A Progressive Conservative government will take a strong stance against sexualized violence with a concrete plan to restore confidence in the justice system,” Baillie concluded.