Ontario Superior Court hearings on hold during lockdown

·1 min read

A criminal trial came to an abrupt halt in Barrie on Wednesday when the judge announced that proceedings, including those conducted online, were ordered to be delayed where possible.

“I apologize to all of you who are ready to proceed today, but unfortunately I am directed to adjourn the trial,” Justice Mary Vallee said in the virtual hearing carried over Zoom.

Vallee cited a notice to the profession issued late Tuesday in which Geoffrey B. Morawetz, chief justice of the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario, ordered that given the strength of the latest stay-at-home order, the court is to defer as many matters as possible, including virtual hearings.

“In view of the strengthened stay-at-home order and the critical situation with the pandemic, over the next several weeks until May 7, to reduce the number of court staff, counsel or parties required to leave their homes to participate in court proceedings, the court will defer as many matters as possible,” the notice reads.

The court is to instead focus on the most serious child-protection and family matters, critical criminal matters and “urgent commercial or economic matters where there are employment or economic impacts.”

Marg. Bruineman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, barrietoday.com