McFadyen to Seek Stiff Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Manitoba’s Worst Offenders

Winnipeg, Manitoba, May 2, 2007 ” If elected, Hugh McFadyen’s Progressive Conservatives will seek mandatory minimum sentences for Manitoba’s worst offenders.

The announcement is just part of McFadyen’s plan to strengthen prosecutions ” another critical link in the chain of Manitoba’s criminal justice system.

“If youre a sex offender, a repeat car thief or a criminal with a gun, you’re going to face time,” said McFadyen, referring to the lenient treatment these and other criminals have received under the NDP.

“We’ll provide police with the people to round them up and prosecutors with the muscle to put them away,” he said.

To support Manitoba’s overworked prosecutors in helping victims and getting criminals behind bars, McFadyen will:

“Hire 25 new prosecutors and make it happen with beefed up salaries – a must if the prosecutions branch is to keep and attract its best crime fighters
“Provide help with crushing caseloads by hiring a team of 20 new support staff

“For years, the NDP has ignored the plight of our prosecutors,” said McFadyen. “Facing some of the highest caseloads in Canada, they’ve been forced to run from case to case with little time to prepare and even less time to spend with victims. This will help ease their burden and allow them to focus on what they do best “ensure justice is done.”

McFadyen said his government would target the most serious criminals in Manitoba and issue clear, public directives to prosecutors:

-No plea bargaining or withdrawal from cases involving crimes with guns
-Seek mandatory minimum sentences for repeat auto thieves
-No conditional sentences for sexual offences involving minors

McFadyen said he would also ensure the public has full information on sentences being handed down by:

-Publishing sentences to allow Manitobans to see the difference between what the prosecutors recommended and the actual sentences
-Ensuring all directives from the Attorney General be issued in writing and published in the Manitoba Gazette
-Issuing an annual report on bail and probation violations as well as the wait times to get a case to court

“Our whole justice system needs to be overhauled and strengthened,” said McFadyen, “so we can restore Manitobans’ sense of safety and security.”

McFadyen also announced he will increase the transparency of prosecutions in Manitoba by introducing a new model of Director of Prosecutions similar to that in British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Quebec and the Federal Government.

“We want the public to know the exact directions the Attorney General is giving to the prosecutors,” he said.

Today’s prosecutions announcement strengthens the third major link in the chain of criminal justice. Earlier in the week, McFadyen said he would beef up the bench, allow cameras in court, give police and victims a say in judging judges, close down crime corridors and put hundreds of fresh feet on the beat. It’s all part of the largest-ever overhaul of Manitoba’s justice system.

“While the NDP are busy pointing fingers and blaming others,” McFadyen said, “we’ll be giving clear directions to our prosecutors to seek tougher sentences. It’s the least we can do to help the victims of some of our worst crimes.”

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