June 21, 2006
Government releases Lamer Inquiry report
Government today released the Lamer Inquiry Report into the Administration of Justice. Justice Minister and Attorney General Tom Marshall, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, said the report is comprehensive in meeting the terms of reference set out by government and provides recommendations that once implemented will ensure public confidence in the administration of justice in this province.
"The Lamer Inquiry report is very well-written and detailed and provides profound insight into the circumstances surrounding the cases of Ronald Dalton, Gregory Parsons and Randy Druken," said Minister Marshall. "It provides 45 recommendations on improving the administration of justice and our government is committed to implementing each and every one of them. Public confidence in our legal system is of the utmost importance and implementing these recommendations will significantly improve the way in which we deliver justice services in this province."
"I am pleased to say that some of these 45 recommendations have already been implemented and that others will be implemented immediately. In some cases however, certain recommendations may be subject to budgetary approval and federal government jurisdiction, but government remains committed to each of these recommendations," continued Minister Marshall.
Of the recommendations already implemented, Minister Marshall noted many pertain to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC). Minister Marshall said Commissioner Lamer is very complimentary to the RNC for striving to resolve problems identified in the proceedings without waiting for the final report. "Commissioner Lamer applauds improvements in attitude, technological change, recruitment and training, and makes special mention of the RNC Training program at Memorial University which government implemented in 2004 to recruit and train 75 officers new over a three year period." said Minister Marshall.
"Our government is committed to providing a high level of public protection and we have worked diligently over the past two and a half years to provide the RNC with the human and operational resources together with the technology and training required to ensure the people of this province feel safe and secure in their communities. In Budget 2006 alone government invested an unprecedented $10 million in policing and will continue to make sound investments in policing to ensure the RNC is one of top forces in the country.
Establishing an independent review of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is one of the recommendations Minister Marshall said government will implement immediately. Commissioner Lamer recommends that an independent review be called to ensure that steps have been taken or will be taken to eliminate the "Crown culture" that contributed to the wrongful conviction of Gregory Parsons, and was also evident in the prosecution of Randy Druken.
"This is an important recommendation on which government must act immediately and we are pleased that retired Court of Appeal Justice, William Marshall, will immediately head up the review," said Minister Marshall. "The review will be very thorough, independent and at arms length; it will examine resources, training, morale and the systemic issues identified in the report."
The minister also expressed sincere regret for what Mr. Dalton, Mr. Parsons and Mr. Druken have endured and accepted responsibility for the role government played in their hardship. "Our hope is that publication of the Lamer inquiry report and the knowledge that government will be implementing its recommendations will help bring closure." Minister Marshall also said that although the issue of compensation remains outstanding for Randy Druken and Ronald Dalton, he encourages their counsel to begin dialogue as soon as they had the opportunity to review the report.
"On behalf of Premier Danny Williams and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, I would like to thank Commissioner Lamer and the commission staff for their hard work and dedication to the completion of this report," concluded Minister Marshall.
Media contact: Billy Hickey, Communications, (709) 729-6985, 691-6390
BACKGROUNDER: Lamer Inquiry
2006 06 21 1:05 p.m.
All material copyright the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. No unauthorized copying or redeployment permitted. The Government assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of any material deployed on an unauthorized server.