News release

Kaufman Recommendations To Be Implemented

Justice Minister Michael Baker took the first steps in implementing the Kaufman Report in bringing forward amendments to the Public Prosecutions Act today.

Retired justice Fred Kaufman submitted his report dealing with the operations and accountability of the Public Prosecution Service in June of this year.

The legislation is being amended to allow the director to exceed the annual budget of the service by five per cent in the event of an unexpected, major prosecution. It also means that government can appoint an outside and impartial individual to review the expenditure.

"We are not giving the service a blank cheque," said Mr. Baker. "We are eliminating the need for prosecutors to go hat in hand to government for financial resources when faced with an extraordinary prosecution."

Additional amendments require at least 12 meetings a year between the attorney general and the director of the Public Prosecution Service.

"We are simply formalizing what is currently in practice, as recommended by Mr. Kaufman," said Mr. Baker.

Another amendment will ensure that if the attorney general exercises his authority under Section 6 of the act -- relating to a consent to a prosecution, preferring an indictment or issuing a stay of proceedings -- notice must be provided in writing and published in the Royal Gazette. This amendment is in keeping with the practice that is required regarding any directive issued by the attorney general.

The minister also advised that an announcement will be made within two weeks regarding the appointment of a permanent director.

On the issue of wages, he has asked the Department of Human Resources to explore with the Public Prosecution Service whether the Ontario model, which offers negotiation and binding arbitration, could be put into practice here.

"I do not believe it is in anyone's best interest to force a solution on the Crowns," said Mr. Baker. "I am hopeful we can agree upon an approach so that we may finally, and fairly, put this issue to rest."

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Nova Scotia's Public Prosecution Service is in for some changes.

Justice Minister Michael Baker introduced amendments to the legislation today based on recommendations made last June in the Kaufman Report.

The amendments include allowing the director to exceed the annual budget in the event of an unexpected, major prosecution.

It also means that government can appoint an outside and impartial individual to review the expenditure.

Another amendment dictates there be at least 12 meetings a year between the attorney general and the director of the Public Prosecution Service.

Meanwhile, Baker says a permanent director will be named within two weeks.

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Contact:

Michele McKinnon
Department of Justice 902-424-6811 E-mail: