Nova Scotia Supreme Court to create two satellite courtrooms in Dartmouth for criminal jury trials

Leased space of 22,000 square feet will be converted to accommodate up to 200 potential jurors

Nova Scotia Supreme Court to create two satellite courtrooms in Dartmouth for criminal jury trials

The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia has announced that it will establish two new satellite courtrooms for the safe conduct of criminal jury trials in Halifax Regional Municipality amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The court will convert the leased space, measuring approximately 22,000 square feet, located on Mellor Drive in Dartmouth, to accommodate jury selections involving a maximum of 200 potential jurors. The courtrooms will observe the required physical distancing protocols and will be staffed onsite only when jury selections and trials are currently undergoing.

“This space will allow for the safe return of in-person criminal jury trials in metro Halifax for counsel, accused, victims, witnesses, jurors, court staff and members of the judiciary,” said Mark Furey, the province’s attorney general and justice minister.

Earlier, Deborah Smith, the court’s chief justice, suspended all jury trials in the province until Sept. 8, in line with COVID-19-related health protocols. An assessment then took place, during which courtrooms and courthouses in the province were evaluated for their ability to accommodate in-person appearances in accordance with public health guidelines.

The results of the assessment concluded that the four criminal jury courtrooms at the Law Courts in Halifax did not have enough space to allow for the conduct of criminal jury trials. It was also found that these courtrooms could not be reconfigured to accommodate the safe hearing of matters.

Patrick Duncan, the court’s associate chief justice, noted that criminal trials and criminal jury trials involve unique demands, and this solution is the best option available under the circumstances. “This was a great example of the judiciary and the Department of Justice collaborating to address a challenging problem in a challenging time,” said Duncan.

“The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right of accused individuals to be tried within a reasonable time; equally important are the rights of the victims and families involved in these matters,” said Chief Justice Smith.

Recent articles & video

'We need to have the competence to question:' LegalTech panel on genAI fakes in the legal system

MPD Law Firm LLP appears in $20-million commercial case

BC court orders new hearing on worker’s mental disorder claim due to expert's incomplete information

Tax Court of Canada rules against additional 15 percent tax on dividends to Luxembourg shareholders

BC Supreme Court rejects husband’s claim against wife’s counsel over family home sale proceeds

Ontario Superior Court dismisses medical malpractice lawsuit due to lack of expert evidence

Most Read Articles

Survey shows many Canadians not keeping track of financial information crucial for estate planning

Sharing news website subscription password not copyright infringement, finds Federal Court

Lawyer salaries may vary more in wake of competition law changes: recruiter report

Jennifer Teskey, the Canadian managing partner at Norton Rose Fulbright, on talent and motivation