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The Justice System in a COVID-19 World

On March 20, 2020 our Ontario justice system changed in a way most lawyers and paralegals thought would never be possible. It was a swift change which essentially shut down all courts to the public to prevent the spread of the virus and flatten the curve. All members of the justice system needed to make quick changes on how their practice operated.

Here at Aitken Robertson we’ve been doing everything possible to preserve our clients’ rights to full answer and defence and to move their matters along as quickly as possible. All of the Crowns in the Peterborough jurisdiction have been more than willing to discuss all of our matters and we have been working together (but apart) to keep the justice system moving.

The Ontario Court of Justice has swiftly changed to a mostly teleconference based court with counsel able to call in each morning to address any matters up in court that day. Not only are counsel able to address adjournments but they are also able to speak to all Judicial Pre-trials and matters that require urgent release from custody or pleas.

Our lawyer, Philip Stiles, had completed a plea and sentencing relating to an in custody matter and spoke very highly of the teleconference process. “I just completed a full sentencing hearing via conference call. I have full faith that technology and human ingenuity will overcome the COVID challenges to the criminal justice system.

Similarly, another of our lawyers, Daniel Lemaire, has been conducting Judicial Pre-trials by telephone, this process has always been familiar to the justice system as many “out of town” counsel have opted to conduct their pre-trial meetings by telephone well before the COVID-19 outbreak. Mr. Lemaire has spoken of his full confidence with the justice system and the ability to continue to move matters forward.

Facing the justice system before March 20, 2020 was daunting for most people, to say the least, given the current climate it’s safe to say an accused navigating the system alone will be feeling an added stress that no one needs at this time. Our firm is here to help you make it through this tough time. We are still available every day to discuss your matter and offer a free 30-minute consultation to put your mind at ease.

Carol Betz

Carol Betz

Carol Betz currently acts as a licensed paralegal and assistant to Richard J. Aitken. She holds diplomas in both Paralegal Studies and Law Clerk Studies, having attended Fleming College in Peterborough between 2012 and 2014. Much of what she accomplishes is behind the scenes but her tasks are important to active client files.

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