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BC Prosecution Service short on staff due to repeat violent offender response team

The BC Prosecution Service is currently short staffed as it puts implements a new violent repeat offenders response team.

In November, Premier David Eby promised to take immediate steps to strengthen enforcement to keep those who commit repeat violent offences off the streets.

The premier also directing prosecutors to implement a clear and understandable approach to bail for repeat violent offenders within existing federal law.

Read more: New B.C. Premier David Eby announces new repeat offender response teams, public safety plan

On Wednesday, the BC Prosecution Service announced a recruitment drive to fill new and vacant positions for Crown counsel and professional staff in offices throughout the province.

Due to recent recruiting challenges, the prosecution service is looking to hire up to 40 Crown prosecutors in 2023.

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This includes filling vacancies created by the dedication of 21 prosecutors and 21 professional staff to the new repeat violent offender coordinated response team.

“This is a great opportunity for experienced courtroom lawyers and professional staff to join our innovative team and make a positive impact,” Assistant Deputy Attorney General Peter Juk said.

Read more: ‘It’s a travesty’: Nearly 800 criminal cases thrown out over delays since 2016 Jordan decision

The prosecution service has been under pressure for years to deal with case loads.

The Supreme Court’s R. v. Jordan decision in 2016, set deadlines of 18 months for provincial court trials to be completed, adding additional strain.

The prosecution service said the immediate focus for Crown counsel is on lawyers with at least six years of trial experience and that it is looking for qualified applicants from across the country.

Due to overall staffing worries, the Crown will consider accommodating flexible and teleworking arrangements within the province.

In August, the B.C. government launched an investigation into a surge in crime connected to repeat offenders in the province.

The report, produced by Doug LePard and Amanda Butler, found a need for more mental health supporters to deal with an increase in violent repeat offenders.

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