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Minister backs away from attack on judges

Mar 02 2012

B.C.'s Justice Minister distanced herself Thursday from a government MLA who launched a blistering attack against judges in the legislature.

In a speech Wednesday, Liberal MLA Kevin Krueger said "there are some real bad apples" and "some real problem people on the bench" among the judiciary.

He also called judges who conduct "politicking" of the Liberal government in their rulings "dishonourable" and suggested some judges deliver unfair rulings simply because they are tired of listening to their own court proceedings.

Krueger, the MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, told judges to "stop whining about how many judges there are and get the work done" and said it was "completely unacceptable" that judges have taken the province to court for a pay raise.

In an interview, Justice Minister Shirley Bond said: "My views are different than those of MLA Krueger's."

When asked if Krueger's attack could harm her attempt to work with the independent judiciary in her government's ongoing review of the justice system, Bond reminded the judges that she "very much [respects] the work that they do."

"I am hopeful that the relationship I have started with them will ensure we can move forward in a constructive way," Bond said.

B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Bauman said in a statement he was "disappointed with the tone and the tenor of the remarks."

Krueger refused to answer questions Thursday.

NDP justice critic Leonard Krog sent a letter to Premier Christy Clark and Bond Thursday calling for Krueger to withdraw his "inflammatory" comments.

rshaw@timescolonist.com

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