What is a fair price to pay for justice in B.C. today?
It’s a question that former Keremeos firefighter Doug MacLeod must be asking after having his court date rescheduled yet again last Thursday at the inactive Penticton Law Courts.
The frustration was evident in all the parties involved in MacLeod’s wrongful dismissal claim against the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen. He has already been to court four times, and, truthfully, is no closer to a verdict than he was before these proceedings started.
In the meantime, in addition to legal costs, his expenses are climbing through the roof.
As an example, last Thursday was supposed to be his trial date. He showed up in Penticton with a number of witnesses from Keremeos, all of whom left their jobs, only to find that they had wasted their time, energy and resources.
On the other side of the courtroom, the RDOS continues to ramp up costs for their defense, with a lawyer hired out of Vancouver also being paid by taxpayers’ dollars for each court appearance.
“It’s the way the system works,” MacLeod wrote in an email explaining the present status of the case, but we disagree. It’s the way the system doesn’t work, is a more truthful explanation of the process.
With all the wisdom and intellect that should be available to provide sober insight and solutions to problems in the judicial system in B.C., it seems to us that it should be a reasonable expectation to get a ruling in a basic legal action such as this. It’s a small claims issue, no less – and should be dealt with through a minimum of delay and expense.
The fact that this isn’t happening indicates to us that nowhere near enough is being done to ensure fair and speedy justice to the citizens of B.C.