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Manitoba courts limiting ‘support persons’ for victims, accused

Thursday, April 09, 2020 @ 4:22 PM | By Terry Davidson

Manitoba’s courts are now limiting the number of people who attend proceedings in support of victims and accused.  

In what is being called “significant steps to flatten the curve” of COVID-19, courts in Manitoba are “further limiting attendance to individuals at court proceedings at all courthouses province-wide,” states an April 9 news release.

Beginning April 14, “no more than two support persons per accused or victim will be allowed to attend proceedings,” it states.

On March 16, it was announced access to the province’s courthouses would be limited to only those necessary to the proceedings, including lawyers, litigants, accused, witnesses and victim services workers.

According to a court spokesperson, the current ban includes people wanting to support witnesses.

However, as of April 14, child witnesses will be allowed a maximum of “two support persons … in this specific instance.”

The notice gives a stark reminder of the need to practise social distancing.

“We would … like to take this opportunity to remind all counsel of the social distancing recommendations currently in place. Please ensure you are respecting the recommended two metre or six foot limit between yourself and other participants to the proceedings like court clerks and sheriffs.”