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Airdrie MLA speaks out against judicial system

By: Dawn Smith

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 06:00 am

Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson speaks out against the province's court system after a local family's case relating to the vandalism of its house was thrown out.
Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson speaks out against the province's court system after a local family's case relating to the vandalism of its house was thrown out.
Dawn Smith/Rocky View Publishing

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Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson is once again speaking out against the province’s court system.

Anderson raised the issue after media reports were released of an Airdrie family whose court case was thrown out on Jan. 7, four years after their home was broken into and ransacked.

Marla Ems told the media the family returned from a trip to find their front door kicked in and vomit, urine and faecal matter around their home. Ems told media her dog was stabbed.

Elms said the case was in court more than 20 times, but was thrown out after a series of delays and a witness could no longer remember details.

“Four years is an absurd amount of time to be going through this,” said Anderson, formerly a practicing lawyer.

“These things need to be taken care of in a year at most.”

It isn’t the first time Anderson has spoken out against Alberta’s justice system.

In November, he railed against it after a child sexual assault case was thrown out of court because of court delays.

(See story on page 2).

“Albertans are losing confidence in their justice system,” he said during a press conference, Jan. 9.

Anderson is calling for an independent investigation.

“Until that is done, you are going to see more and more of these cases,” he said.

Michelle Davio, Alberta Justice spokesperson, said the two Airdrie court cases are unrelated.

“This case is completely different,” she said, when asked about how the vandalism case relates to the child sexual assault case.

“There were multiple (court) appearances, but that is not why the charges were dismissed,” she said. “There were problems with witness testimony.”

Anderson said victims tend to forget details when a case is lengthy.

“People forget details. They forget colours, certain feelings,” he said. “After four years, witnesses change their stories.”


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