A First Nations Court could be taking cases in Williams Lake this fall.
RCMP Community Safety Coordinator, Dave Dickson says he has been in Kamloops and witnessed the powerful process.
He says Williams Lake, which would be the 5th community to have such a court, does not want to be cookie cutter.
“What’s best for community, and that’s where we talk with our partners in the community, that’s where we talk to the Chiefs of the communities-what will work in your community? This what’s happens in Kamloops. Will this work in your community? No, and we need to tweak it.”
“We’re totally open and totally transparent to that type of model.”
Dickson says it was decided 2 years ago with the Restorative Justice Committee that further steps needed to be taken.
Funding is currently being sought to train First Nations elders in May.
“We’re starting the communication to our First Nations communities, says Dickson who is hopeful that the Court will be ready to take in cases by September 1, 2016.
“We’ll be working with communities to identify Elders, we’ll be working with Elders for training, looking at facilities, working with various agencies within the community to make sure we’ve got the protocols in place and the communication line open,” continues Dickson.
The Province’s Ministry of Justice says at this point no decision has been made to implement a First Nations Court in Williams Lake and that such a decision would require the commitment and support of the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court as well as the Ministry.
The Ministry adds that they have been involved in discussions in the community about how to better address criminal justice issues and that one of the suggestions has been the implementation of a First Nations Court as a response to some of the issues.