Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Province boosts Crown numbers

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Manitoba will hire 10 Crown attorneys and up to five prosecutorial support staff to speed up the handling of criminal cases.

One of the new Crown attorneys will work exclusively on the new Block by Block initiative taking place within a 21-block area in the William Whyte neighbourhood.

'It will allow that Crown prosecutor to know who in the community is really creating chaos, who is creating havoc, who is hurting people'

-- Justice Minister Andrew Swan

Last year, the province, along with Winnipeg police and community organizations, announced a pilot project to improve safety in the area.

The initiative involves a co-ordinated approach to delivering community services to prevent individuals and families from falling on the wrong side of the law.

The community prosecutor will work with police to screen hardened criminals from those with addictions and mental-health issues in the community, Justice Minister Andrew Swan said.

"It will allow that Crown prosecutor to know who in the community is really creating chaos, who is creating havoc, who is hurting people and who are the ones who are getting caught up in what somebody else may be doing," he said.

Swan said police are called to some homes in the William Whyte neighbourhood 10 to 15 times per month.

Meanwhile, the province also announced Friday it will increase funding to the Winnipeg Police Service to strengthen its disclosure unit.

The extra $300,000 will allow prosecutors to disclose information to the accused more quickly, helping cases go to trial sooner. Four new civilian staffers are being added to the unit.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 26, 2014 A18

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