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B.C. prosecutors' association raises security concerns about Vancouver courthouse following assault


The association that represents B.C.’s roughly 450 Crown prosecutors is raising safety concerns around an East Vancouver courthouse after a member was allegedly assaulted outside last week.

Police say 27-year-old Kenyon Lavallee randomly attacked two women near the provincial courthouse at 222 Main St. Friday morning.

The British Columbia Crown Counsel Association has since confirmed one of the victims is a prosecutor, and that she was sent to hospital after the assault.

"We’re reeling, this has really shaken us to the core to have one of our own attacked right here,” said BCCCA president Adam Dalrymple.

He says the prosecutor was being escorted by a security guard – which lawyers making their way to that courthouse often are – but the attack still wasn’t prevented.

Dalrymple says the incident has sparked broader concerns about that courthouse, noting that while lawyers are given security escorts, victims, witnesses and members of the public are not.

"This is Canada, British Columbia, Vancouver – the fact that we have to have escorts and shuttles for court staff into a provincial court (is unacceptable),” he said. “This court services the lion’s share of criminal matters from Burnaby and Vancouver.”

Dalrymple says they’re hoping to spark a discussion about finding a new location for the Vancouver provincial courthouse.

“This where people come to see their justice system, this is where people come to observe sentencings, this where young people come to learn about their justice system,” he said.

“That engagement is so critical to the proper functioning of the criminal justice system,” he added. “What makes it work is that people within the system feel safe, that courthouses are in safe locations.”

Premier David Eby says his government isn’t considering moving the courthouse, but that there will be discussions around safety.

"I'm certainly very concerned about this assault on a Crown prosecutor, and the safety of every person that uses that courthouse as well as more broadly in the neighbourhood,” he said.

“We will continue to do the work we’ve been doing to ensure the safety of all court participants.”

In a statement, B.C. Attorney General Niki Sharma said she will be meeting directly with the BCCA and the Trial Lawyers Association to “understand what steps are needed” to improve safety at the province’s courthouses.

"The ministry will be reviewing the facts of this incident to determine what, if any, further measures may be taken,” Sharma said.

"There are various factors behind the location of a courthouse, including its proximity to other law enforcement agencies, in-custody centres and other community programs and services. These need to be taken into account to ensure the smooth running of the courts and justice system."

Sharma also wished both victims a “speedy recovery.”

Lavallee appeared in court Monday, he remains in custody and will be back before a judge later this month. Top Stories

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