That was the B.C. Prosecution Service’s response on Friday after Kelowna RCMP alleged this week there’s a backlog of criminal cases within the city.
On Monday, during a city council meeting, Kelowna RCMP Supt. Kara Triance said that the number of property offences awaiting assessment by B.C. prosecutors was high.
She added with files not being handled in a timely fashion, criminals are going back out on the streets, committing more crimes before being processed.
“I think what’s really important here to remember is in 2021, as we looked at that data, we had (1,084) files forwarded to (the B.C. Prosecution) Service…. Seventy-eight per cent of our charges that were forwarded to Crown counsel have not been approved yet,” Triance told council.
Triance continued, saying, “You’re going to have offenders who are at large in the community during a period of time where they’re waiting for court and we can assume, from patterns of behaviour that we’ve seen with persistent and prolific offenders, they are committing more crime while at large in the community.”
The B.C. Prosecution Service (BCPS) refuted Triance’s stats.
“These statements are grossly inaccurate and they unjustifiably cast doubt on the professionalism and effectiveness of hard-working Crown Counsel,” BCPS said in a press release.
“There is no Crown charge assessment backlog and this is not an issue of differences in systems or tracking.”
BCPS continued, saying “the simple fact is that the overwhelming majority of the reports to Crown Counsel the B.C. Prosecution Service received from the Kelowna RCMP in 2021 were assessed by Crown Counsel within 30 days or less of being received and have been approved and are currently pending before the court, awaiting disposition, trial, or sentencing.”
BCPS said a small number of cases, approximately 120 in total, are either awaiting assessment by Crown Counsel or have been returned to the police for further information or follow-up.
“After media reports about the statements made to the Kelowna City Council,” added BCPS, “the officer in charge contacted senior Crown Counsel, specifically acknowledging that the statements had been inaccurate and apologizing for making them.”
Global News has reached out to police for comment.