PQ calls on government to use notwithstanding clause to prevent early releases

With nearly 800 court cases requesting a stay in proceedings because of the Jordan decision, the Parti Québécois is again calling on the Quebec government to take extraordinary measures to ensure criminals stand trial.

"The Premier should not dismiss using the notwithstanding clause under false pretences" Jean-François Lisée said in a press release Sunday. 

Lisée is one of the many to be outraged after a Montreal man, who spent nearly five years behind bars, was released last week because his lawyer successfully argued according the charges against him should be stayed because of unreasonable delays.

"This is extremely serious, and damages Quebecers confidence in their judicial system."

Lisée also noted that in recent months members of organized crime, alleged accomplices of Gilles Vaillancourt and others accused of fraud and breach of trust have all had their cases stayed because of lengthy delays.

The PQ leader said while this is the first case involving an accused murdered, it will not be the last.

The party's Justice Critic, Veronique Hivon, echoed the same sentiments.

"We have asked [Justice Minister Stephanie Vallée] to use the notwithstanding clause to ensure that justice will be delivered, despite the demands of the Jordan decision," said Hivon.

"Thousands of Quebecers are angry about this, and I share their anger, our level of indignation peaks when a man presumed to have killed his wife has been freed."

For her part, Justice Minister Vallée will be going before the Supreme Court to clarify measures it put in place to address complex cases or ones that began before the Jordan decision was handed down.

Premier Philippe Couillard once again urged the federal government to appoint judges to fill the 14 spots currently vacant in Quebec Superior Court, some positions have gone unfilled for months, even years.