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Prisoner release lands justice minister in hot water

The Liberals called for the province’s justice minister to step down yesterday after another prisoner was mistakenly released.

The Liberals called for the province’s justice minister to step down yesterday after another prisoner was mistakenly released.

But Cecil Clarke says his department is doing all it can and human error can’t be eliminated.

On Monday the province discovered Chancelor Faulkner, 19, had been released six days earlier due to a clerical error. While sentenced on one charge, he was facing several others, including rob­bery and weapons related charges, and was to be remanded until his next court appearance on April 23.

Liberal Justice Critic Michel Samson said he felt “a sense of disbelief” that another prisoner had been released. He said Clarke has presided over a “comedy of errors” and should be mo­ved out of the department.

“The premier knows what his options are. He’s shuffled his cabinet before,” Samson said.

“To suggest to Nova Scotians they should continue to have confidence in this minister or even confidence in this government’s ability to handle the justice system, I don’t think anyone’s going to buy it.”

NDP Leader Darrell Dexter said Clarke needs to take responsibility for the releases.

“He has to recognize that you can’t just issue press releases about changes taking place. They actually have to take place,” Dexter said.

According to Clarke, 10 prisoners have been mistakenly released in Nova Scotia over the last three years.

But he said the problem has occurred in every province and that human error is inevitable. He said his department has always addressed problems when they’ve popped up.

“It is very frustrating to me as justice minister when we’ve put so much effort and resources into making sure these incidents don’t recur, but human error is a part of that process and it has been in this case,” Clarke said .

He said his department is implementing the recommendations of a Deloitte review on how to improve security.

Police are still trying to locate Faulkner’s whereabouts.

 
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