B.C. Supreme and provincial courts postpone in-person sessions due to rising COVID-19 cases

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From Jan. 4 to Jan 7, all trials scheduled to take place before the B.C. Supreme Court and provincial courts are postponed due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Online hearings will continue. (Peter Scobie/CBC - image credit)
From Jan. 4 to Jan 7, all trials scheduled to take place before the B.C. Supreme Court and provincial courts are postponed due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Online hearings will continue. (Peter Scobie/CBC - image credit)

In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and the more transmissible Omicron variant, courts in B.C. are postponing all in-person trials and other proceedings in the coming week as they work with public health officials to update their COVID-19 safety policy.

Both the B.C. Supreme Court and provincial court announced in a written statement that in light of "the rapid and concerning recent increase in COVID-19 in the province," all in-person civil and family matters scheduled between Jan. 4 to Jan. 7 will be postponed.

For criminal trials and other in-person criminal proceedings, the Supreme Court is advising all accused people and their lawyers, who have scheduled appearances this week, to phone the court at the time of their proceeding to arrange a new date.

Criminal trials and preliminary inquiries for those already in custody will remain on the schedule, according to court documents, with judges deciding if they should go ahead on the date of the proceedings.

Legal proceedings for those not in custody between Jan. 4 and 7, however, have been adjourned automatically.

The provincial court said it will be contacting people scheduled to appear in court this week to reschedule while virtual sessions conducted over video conferencing will continue.

An updated notice is expected to be issued near the end of the week.

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