Changes to Alberta Crown prosecutors manual will target hate crime and provide improved protection for victims, says Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Tyler Shandro.
“The updated manual will better support prosecutors in their decision-making, including helping them to better protect victims of sexual and domestic violence and persons who live in rural and remote communities, and to prosecute those who commit hate-motivated offences and repeat offenders,” Shandro said in a press release Monday.
The manual sets out foundational guidelines for the prosecution of crimes and is used by Crown prosecutors province-wide.
One of the updates explicitly directs prosecutors to proceed with a prosecution where an offence is motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender identity of expression, or any other similar factor, according to the release.
Another update explicitly requires prosecutors to provide the court with an accused criminal record when addressing bail.
Crown prosecutors will also now be required to consider whether the use of force defence in the Criminal Code should preclude prosecution against victims of crime.
Specifically, consideration must be given to the role the individual in the incident, including whether they are the victim of crime, and if an incident occurs in a remote or rural location, and self-defence is raised, a prosecutor may give consideration to location.
Justice and Solicitor General spokesperson Joseph Dow told Great West Media that the changes to the manual are now in effect.