Tuesday, August 28, 2007

How Much Courthouse Security Is Enough?

The most recent issue of The Lawyers Weekly (August 31, 2007 issue) has a feature article on the ongoing debate about security in Canadian courthouses, in particular those in the province of Quebec.

The article is entitled Quebec lawyers question 'over-the-top' court security:
"Security guards stand at the entrance to the Quebec Court of Appeal in Montreal. Lawyers have criticized the court for its strict security measures."

"Lawyers, including Crowns, are asking why they have to undo their belt buckles, raise their pants’ legs, and otherwise submit to strict new security measures before pleading at the Quebec Court of Appeal in Montreal – even if they are courtroom regulars who are well known to security staff."

"Meanwhile, at the bustling Palais de Justice across the street, combative family law litigants and people accused of serious crimes face no security checks whatsoever when they show up for their trials."

"That irony sparked comment in Calgary following a panel discussion Aug. 13 at the Canadian Bar Association’s conference which highlighted abysmal security in courtrooms across Canada, including at all of Quebec’s 42 trial courthouses. Montreal’s Palais de Justice, home to 93 courtrooms and the second largest courthouse in North America (after Chicago), does not even have a metal detector to screen the 6,000 people who flock through its five doors each working day. "
On December 13, 2006, I posted about the problems in the main Montreal courthouse - Newspaper Series on Threats to Montreal Crown Prosecutors: "The Montreal daily La Presse has a series of articles today about the security (or lack of security) for Crown prosecutors in Montreal and elsewhere in the province of Quebec (...) The intimidation tactics include being photographed inside the Courthouse by criminal gang members and their supporters, being followed in parking lots, and bomb threats."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:09 pm

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