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Saskatchewan court extends suspension of trials, in-person hearings

Monday, January 11, 2021 @ 3:56 PM | By Terry Davidson

Saskatchewan’s provincial court is extending a pause in some key operations due to rising cases of COVID-19 in the prairie province.

In a Jan. 8 notice, the court announced that it will now continue to suspend “most trials, preliminary inquiries, and in-person hearings” to Feb. 16.

These operations had originally been suspended until Jan. 15.

The notice points to Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer (CMHO) advising against “unnecessary travel outside of home communities” and reducing the maximum number of people allowed to gather in courtrooms where “physical barriers” are not present.

“Where the Court has contact information, it will contact parties in advance of the trial date,” the notice states. “At that time any party to a proceeding may apply to have a matter proceed and a judge will decide whether or not it will. In order for the matter to proceed the Court must be satisfied the trial can safely be held within the CMHO guidelines. Judges may conduct Trial Management Conferences to decide if a matter can safely be held. If parties are not ready, or if they fail to attend the Trial Management Conference the presiding judge may cancel the date set and schedule another time when the matter is to be dealt with.”

The court “continues to encourage lawyers and accused persons to appear by phone.”

Circuit court dockets will proceed but will be conducted via phone from “the permanent court location.”

“In most instances Court parties will not travel to the communities,” the notice states.

It was reported by local news media on Jan. 9 that Saskatchewan saw seven more deaths related to COVID-19, as well as 332 new cases. At that point, there were a reported 3,186 active cases in the province.  

On Jan 10, 307 new cases were discovered, but no new deaths were reported.

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