Asbestos, mould, gas leaks in Milton courthouse force closure of in-person hearings

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Published September 14, 2023 at 3:21 pm

Superior Court judges will not be presiding over in-person cases at a courthouse in Milton because of a mould problem in the building, along with a number of other health and safety concerns.

On Monday, Justice Clayton Conlan of the Superior Court of Justice wrote that Superior Court judges would cease sitting at in-person matters at the courthouse until further notice after carefully reviewing the situation at the building.

The move followed a similar decision earlier this month by judges with the Ontario Court of Justice to dismiss all in-person hearings following the discovery of mould in parts of the courthouse along with other issues including asbestos, a gas leak and staff shortages.

Conlon says it was a “disappointing day for justice in the Halton region” and says judges are doing what they can but cannot allow members of the public and justice officials to enter the building while it remains contaminated.

Attorneys in Halton Region say that some hearings can be conducted remotely but hearings that require a jury cannot.

A spokesperson for the Attorney General of Ontario says the province has commissioned a report into asbestos in the building and says air samples checking for mould and asbestos indicate air quality is within acceptable limits.

This is the second time in two years that in-person hearings have been suspended at the Milton courthouse – a similar mould problem was found in 2021.

The Canadian Press

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