1.4: Procedural orders

Case Summary

The Attorney General of Alberta (the “Applicant”) applied for a Declaration that police officers have the legal authority to act as Prosecutors at first appearance bail hearings before a Justice of the Peace. The Application was brought in response to a tragic incident in which an individual who was on bail shot two police officers, killing one of them. Chief Justice Wittmann declined to grant the Application sought and declared that police officers do not have the requisite authority to act as Prosecutors under the Criminal Code, RSC 1985, C-46.

The Applicant requested that, given the nature of the Court’s Declaration, that it be suspended for six months, to allow for an orderly transition and to uphold the rule of law. Chief Justice Wittmann held that s. 8 of the Judicature Act, RSA 200 c J-2 and Rule 1.4 granted the Court the power to fashion a suspended Declaration as a remedy. His Lordship further noted that with respect to Rule 1.4(2)(h), there was no “great semantic difference between the terms ‘stay’ and ‘suspend’ as they both refer to postponing the effect of a judgment”. Wittmann C.J. stated that immediate and significant changes to the bail hearing system would raise legitimate concerns for the administration of justice in Alberta. The Applicant’s request for a six month stay was granted.

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