Crime Beat / Crime, the Courts, and Covid-19

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Episode notes

In this episode, Global News crime reporter Nancy Hixt, turns to the experts including police, judges and lawyers, to answer your questions about crime, the courts and COVID-19 -- and what it all means for your safety.

The novel coronavirus has affected all of us.

Many have lost loved ones, businesses have closed, thousands have lost their jobs.

People are asked to stay home wherever possible, to self-isolate and to maintain social distancing.

With that, there are added strains on many relationships.

Advocacy groups are seeing increased rates of domestic and sexual violence -- in some areas, the number of reported incidents has tripled.

Others, can’t avoid going out -- including essential service providers like doctors, nurses and hospital staff. 

That also includes those working to maintain public safety during a time of heightened anxiety.

Police are experiencing new challenges and are noticing a change in the types of crimes they’re being asked to investigate.

With more people working from home, house break-ins are down, but many closed businesses have been left more vulnerable and commercial break-ins are on the rise.

There have also been cases where COVID-19 has been used as a weapon against police, in the form of coughing and spitting on first-responders.

Experts note one silver lining in this difficult time--and that is the increased use of technology to keep the wheels of justice moving.

Video conferencing and teleconferencing is being used whenever possible to deal with bail, sentencing hearings and even trials.

Other court cases are being delayed because of the need to follow social distancing and limits on people gathered in one place, including jury trials.

That’s raised concerns about an already strained Canadian justice system and what that means for keeping up with time limits imposed by the Supreme Court of Canada on how long a case can take from start to finish.