The SPVM “deeply concerned” by the prioritization of criminal cases
The SPVM, whose new director, Fady Dagher, recently took office, claims that the DPCP has given it certain assurances concerning weapons and major files, between others.
The Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) is concerned about the new directive sent to Crown prosecutors, who must now prioritize certain types of criminal cases to the detriment of others.
On Thursday, the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP), Me Patrick Michel, sent a directive to his prosecutors in which we read that a prioritization of files must be made in order to better meet legal deadlines. The priority files concern sexual and domestic violence, abuse of minors and elders as well as crimes causing death or serious injury.
The SPVM is deeply concerned by this announcement, because it has an impact on the victims as well as on the work carried out by the police, the investigators and the prosecutors, affirms the police force in an email sent to Radio-Canada.
These words echo those of the Bâtonniere of Quebec, Me Catherine Claveau. This highlights that the lack of resources in the justice system undermines public confidence in the system.
The decision stems from the standoff between the Minister of Justice, Simon Jolin-Barrette, and the Chief Justice of the Court of Quebec, Lucie Rondeau. Since September, Justice Rondeau has instituted a reform whereby judges sit only one day out of two instead of two days out of three. This decision reduces the time slots available for court hearings.
The Department of Justice estimates that approximately 50,000 criminal cases expected in 2023 may be at risk due to deadlines.
Montreal faces several public safety issues, including an increase in gun violence in recent years. While the new directive places importance on murder and attempted murder records, it is rather vague when it comes to firearms.
At most, it reads that the prevalence of the offense or the significance of its consequences within the community and the consequent need for denunciation and deterrence could result in a type of crime other than those described being prioritized within a given office.
The SPVM claims, however, that the DPCP has given it certain assurances concerning weapons and major files, among other things.
The DPCP has also confirmed that cases of armed violence, drugs or organized crime as well as all those requiring significant police resources will also be the subject of particular attention, writes the body police in an email.
Radio-Canada has requested an interview with the head of the se public curity within the administration of Valérie Plante. His office directed us to the SPVM.