BC Liberals release letter by urban mayors to Eby and Farnworth to do something about prolific offenders

THE B.C. Liberals announced on Tuesday that they have obtained an explosive, previously unreleased letter, written by 13 urban mayors who are calling out NDP Attorney General David Eby’s harmful catch and release policies for repeat criminal offenders.

“Last month, Minister Eby claimed that Opposition anecdotes shared in Question Period were ‘not backed up by the statistics’ — but the damning criminal offence data shared by the BC Urban Mayors’ Caucus in its April 5 letter proves otherwise,” said MLA Mike Morris, BC Liberal Critic for Public Safety and Solicitor General. “These crimes are becoming increasingly violent and brazen — it’s time for the Attorney General to do something about prolific offenders and their impact on our communities. His lack of action is undermining public confidence in the justice system and has brought it completely into disrepute.”

The letter to Eby and Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth from the mayors shows that since 2017, there has been a 118-per-cent increase in the amount of time it is taking the Province to review files it receives from police; a 75-per-cent increase in the rate of no-charge assessments; and a 26-per-cent decrease in the number of accused being approved to go to court. The data also provides a variety of examples from various communities where a single offender has generated hundreds of police files yet is routinely released with conditions and subsequently re-offends. These individuals are rarely, if ever, charged.

“The Attorney General has tools at his disposal that he could use to reduce these troubling numbers — but he’s choosing not to use them,” said Opposition House Leader Todd Stone, MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson. “We know that Minister Eby has a history of playing hardball with local governments, so it’s no surprise the mayors have been forced to plead with him in private out of fear of retribution. Minister Eby needs to restore faith in our justice system so people in our communities can feel safe on our streets once again, and we are calling on him to support the solutions put forward by the group of mayors.”

The proposed solutions to address prolific offenders outlined in the April 5, 2022 letter include:

* Stricter control (i.e., bail conditions) and consequences for repeat property offenders;
* Stronger consideration for “maintaining public confidence in the administration of justice” in bail and charge assessment policies/guidelines;
* Increased investment for BC Prosecution Services (BCPS) resources across the province;
* Implementation of Community Courts across communities;
* Review of 2021 BCPS’ charge assessment guidelines to uncover unintended consequences in relation to property offenders; and
* Review of 2018 BCPS’ full disclosure policies in the context of homicides in the interest of maintaining public confidence in the administration of justice.

Link:  Letter from BC Urban Mayors’ Caucus to Attorney General David Eby & Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, April 5, 2022