New SCOC justice Wagner says it's crucial for people to trust judicial system

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Canada's newest Supreme Court justice says the survival of democracy depends on the public having trust in the judicial system.

Justice Richard Wagner says in an interview with The Canadian Press that court decisions are being examined and commented upon in the media as never before.

He says the credibility of the justice system is put at risk if its decisions are criticized without being properly explained.

Wagner pointed to the uproar around the case of Guy Turcotte, who was found not criminally responsible for killing his three children in 2009 and remanded to psychiatric care.

That verdict was roundly blasted by some members of the public who held demonstrations.

While Wagner doesn't believe judges have to justify their decisions in public, he says they can explain how the system works.

He did not want to be drawn on hot-button issues such as mandatory minimum sentences and the need for bilingual Supreme Court justices.