November 10, 2017 11:54 am

N.S. Provincial and Family Court beat gender parity goal with newest judge

Michael Patrick McNutt, 66, is scheduled to appear in Halifax Provincial Court on Thursday to face 27 charges related to historical sexual assaults.

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There are now more women than men sitting as judges on the Nova Scotia’s newest Provincial and Family Court. Former chief federal prosecutor Ann Marie Simmons has been appointed to the bench, making her the 18th woman among the 35 full-time sitting judges.

Simmons has practiced law for 31 years and joined the Public Prosecution Service of Canada — Atlantic Region in 2005 after spending a decade with Nova Scotia’s Public Prosecution Service.

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Throughout her career, she has led criminal prosecutions ranging from money laundering to historic sexual assault and homicide cases.

“We are very fortunate to have her join us on the provincial Bench,” Pamela Williams, Chief Judge of the Provincial and Family Courts, said in a statement.

Simmons’ appointment, which was announced by Premier Stephen McNeil on Friday, means the province has exceeded its goal of gender parity among judges on the Provincial and Family Court.

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“Achieving gender parity on the bench is a historic moment in our province,” McNeil said in news release.

“Ms. Simmons is an experienced and highly qualified prosecutor who will make an excellent addition to the provincial and family courts.”

Simmons fills the vacancy left when William Digby retired to part-time status in October.

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