Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut May 26, 2016 - 7:00 am

Nunavut court kept humming in 2015, despite recent drop in crime

Despite complaints, stats show Nunavut courts among the quickest in Canada

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
This graph shows that Nunavut courts process criminal charges more quickly than any other jurisdiction in Canada, except for Prince Edward Island, and that Nunavut is virtually tied with the Northwest Territories for the median amount of time between first and last court appearance. (IMAGE FROM NUNAVUT COURT OF JUSTICE)
This graph shows that Nunavut courts process criminal charges more quickly than any other jurisdiction in Canada, except for Prince Edward Island, and that Nunavut is virtually tied with the Northwest Territories for the median amount of time between first and last court appearance. (IMAGE FROM NUNAVUT COURT OF JUSTICE)

Though Nunavut’s total number of criminal charges stayed well below peak numbers reached between 2008 and 2012, the Nunavut Court of Justice kept busy in 2015, the NUCJ’s annual report reveals.

In 2015, 5,527 adult criminal charges were laid in Nunavut, up slightly from the 5,445 laid in 2014 — an increase of 1.5 per cent.

But that’s still well below the annual numbers racked up between 2008 and 2012, when adult criminal charge numbers rose dramatically, from 6,882 in 2008 to 7,551 in 2012.

And 13 communities actually saw a decrease in total criminal charges — youth plus adult charges — in 2015, especially Arviat, where total criminal charges fell by nearly 50 per cent.

In 12 communities, the charging rate rose, with Rankin Inlet, at 727 total criminal charges, suffering an 80 per cent increase in 2015 over the previous year.

For the most part, the total raw number of criminal charges per community in 2015 was in proportion to the population of each community.

For example, Iqaluit, home to 20 per cent of Nunavut’s population, generated 1,338 criminal charges — 22 per cent of all criminal charges in Nunavut.

Despite widespread complaints about how long it takes for Nunavut courts to deal with charges, Statistics Canada numbers quoted in the report show that — except for the Northwest Territories and Prince Edward Island — Nunavut processes criminal cases faster than any other jurisdiction in Canada.

“Comparing Nunavut’s processing time nationally, Nunavut is tied for the second fastest processing time in Canada for both youth and adult matters. Nunavut is on par with the Northwest Territories for processing time,” the report said.

The median amount of time between first and last court appearances for adult criminal charges in Nunavut is only 71 days, the StatsCan numbers found.

In contrast, the median amount of time between first and last court appearances in Quebec is 238 days and in Ontario, 119 days.

  2015 Annual Report Nunavut Court of Justice by NunatsiaqNews

This graph shows that the number of adult criminal charges laid in Nunavut in 2015 increases slightly over the previous year, after dropping rapidly in 2013 and 2014. (IMAGE NUNAVUT COURT OF JUSTICE)
This graph shows that the number of adult criminal charges laid in Nunavut in 2015 increases slightly over the previous year, after dropping rapidly in 2013 and 2014. (IMAGE NUNAVUT COURT OF JUSTICE)
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