Watching highly paid judges devoting hearings that involve lawyers, court staff, sheriffs and police to sort out the sordid disputes between damaged, drug-dependent individuals underscores the raging opioid crisis and the failure of anti-drug laws.

It’s easy to forget the all-too-common face of this emergency. People like Erynn May Taylor — vulnerable victims of a horribly frayed social safety net.

The 32-year-old Kamloops woman, who was dragged up, not reared, wanted her nine-month jail sentence reduced to probation for her role in an ugly dispute over a drug debt.

She was rebuffed by a hard-hearted B.C. Court of Appeal division.

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A bank robber who murdered his accomplice and was imprisoned in 1993 has not yet lost a decades-long battle from his cell to evade further U.S. incarceration thanks to the B.C. Court of Appeal.

The province’s top court has stopped his immediate extradition and told the justice minister to reconsider a proposal from the man to serve any American sentence in Canada.

Once prosaically named Gregory Lloyd Hanson, Iridian Mishael Grenada has refused parole for years because, if released, he would have been handed to the Americans for robbing a California bank.

Grenada maintained he should be allowed to do his time here because U.S. prisons are too harsh and the expected lengthy sentence would destroy his family.

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A Surrey man should face a trial even though charges against him — first laid five years ago — were halted by a provincial court judge because his right to a timely trial was violated, B.C.’s top court says.

The Court of Appeal said the lower court judge wrongly calculated the length of the delay by including more than two years after a stay of proceedings issued so police could investigate further.

The three-justice division unanimously decided the Charter of Rights and Freedoms provision guaranteeing a trial within a reasonable time did not apply if an individual was not formally charged.

“The existence of an ongoing investigation after the stay of an original information, whether known to the accused or not, does not create an exception to that general principle in the absence of an element of illegitimacy or manipulation that would properly engage section 11(b) interests and the concerns addressed in Jordan,” Justice Christopher Grauer writes.

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Heather Campbell Pope, founder of Dementia Justice Canada, has been approved under a new Law Society of B.C. program to provide legal help to those suffering with the disorder and their families.

Through phone consultations and emails from southern Ontario, Campbell Pope will offer guidance, advocacy support and research to assist unrepresented individuals with dementia and others to navigate the courts and legal proceedings.

She will be able to advocate via letters to the Crown, correctional authorities, care homes and health authorities, or custodians of health information, regarding access to records.

The legal regulator has also authorized the non-practising lawyer to carry out legal research, write memos, prepare documents for human rights complaints, draft appeal proposals and apply for compassionate release.

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Peter Stone and I huddled in a poorly constructed cabin in the tiny remote community of Lower Post on the Liard River just south of the Yukon border — it was well below -15 outside and although the stove was working ceaselessly the chinks in the logs quickly exhaled the warmth.

“My legs are dead,” Old Dan Lutz told us between plugs of chewing tobacco.

The federal government assigned him 1901 as the year of his birth, but he claimed to be older.

In a voice filtered through tobacco juice and laughter, Lutz recited his first encounter with a white man.

“I thought it was a ghost with whiskers riding a moose.”

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