Dec. 12, 2008
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Ensuring the safety and security of courtrooms and courthouses is the focus of legislation introduced today by Justice and Consumer Affairs Minister T.J. Burke.
The Court Security Act will give sheriffs, police and RCMP officers the legal authority to require persons entering a courthouse or court area to show identification and to submit to a security screening for weapons. Persons who refuse to identify themselves or refuse to be screened may be denied entry.
"In the past, searches in our courts have produced drugs, razor blades, pocket knives and homemade weapons," said Burke. "For this reason, it is essential we provide the legislative authority to screen for weapons. This will ensure adequate court security and protect court staff, the judiciary and members of the public. As well, the authority to require persons to provide identification will enhance security by alerting court security officers to the presence of individuals who may heighten the security risk of any proceedings."
The act will not require court security officers to ask for identification and screen for weapons in all instances, but it provides the authority to do so when warranted by a risk assessment or the nature of the proceedings.
Sheriffs provide security for the Court of Appeal, the Court of Queen's Bench and 10 provincial court locations. Local police and the RCMP provide security in the remaining provincial courts.
"This is another way we are working to help New Brunswickers be safe in our courthouses," said Burke. "This legislation will bring our province in line with seven other jurisdictions across Canada."
MEDIA CONTACT: Elaine Bell, communications, Department of Justice and Consumer Affairs, 506-453-6543.