Brockville’s police chief Scott Fraser doesn’t understand why the Brockville courthouse is one of the few that doesn’t have video technology for remands installed in the building.
“Currently, in eastern Ontario, the Brockville court and the Perth court are the only two that don’t have this system,” he said.
He says they’ve been asking for video technology to do remands for five years at the Brockville court.
Last week MPP Steve Clark raised the issue, during Question Period, with the attorney general.
“The Crown, all the defence lawyers, everyone’s on board, we just need the attorney general and his office, who I think have been fighting this for about the last five years, need to get with the times,” said Clark.
The attorney general has said he will investigate the matter.
Fraser says they do approximately 900 prisoner transports every year tying up anywhere from three to five police officers and special constables at the court.
Some of those transfers are from the Bockville jail which is attached to the rear of the court.
“Two officers have to transport them around, many of these transports are for a one-minute court appearance to have a new court date set.”
Fraser says the municipality has done its part: video equipment has been installed in both the police station and the Brockville jail.
The closed-circuit TV system would also make it easier for witnesses to testify according to the police chief.
“If you have someone from a remote location or a different province, it’s going to be costly to bring them here,” Fraser said. “They can testify via closed-circuit television from wherever they are situated.”
Fraser says it’s also an issue of safety for officers, court staff, prisoners and the public.
“We’ve had people attempt to escape. You know we have people once they’re out they become ill and now we have to get them to the hospital.”
While the attorney general has agreed to look into the matter there is no word on when or if the Brockville courthouse will get closed-circuit TV.