Courts in B.C. are taking sweeping precautions amid the COVID-19 spread, including postponing jury-trials and encouraging appeal matters to also be adjourned, effective immediately.
In a statement issued Friday, the B.C. Supreme Court announced it would be cancelling jury selections until the end of May across the province. This means that those accused in criminal cases are being told to either make arrangements for a trial by judge alone or be forced to wait until after May 31.
Affected civil cases can also proceed without a jury.
As for ongoing jury trials, the presiding judge has been directed to consider whether the trial should continue or be adjourned until June.
Any appeals that are not urgently needing to proceed should also adjourn, the statement reads.
B.C.’s provincial courts remain open as of Friday, but officials have created a contingency plan to deal with COVID-19.
“Because the situation regarding COVID-19 is fluid, we will continue monitoring and assessing information as it becomes available,” a statement posted online reads. “Should any changes in court operations be necessary, we will post the details as soon as possible.”
Anyone placed on self-isolation is being asked to contact the court. Those with COVID-19 symptoms, including the public, are being asked to stay away from courtrooms.
More to come.