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Court house fills decade long vacancy

By Adam Riley Sep 19, 2023 | 10:00 AM

File Photo: Fort Frances Courthouse (Randy Thoms / Acadia Broadcasting)

The Ontario Court of Justice in Fort Frances finally has a new judge.

The appointment of Justice Terry Peter Waltenbury fills a vacancy which has been around for 11 years.

That vacancy was created when Justice Thomas McKay departed in 2012, since then local provincial courts have been presided over by visiting judges from across the province, primarily from the Kenora district.

The President of the Rainy River District Law Association, Douglas Judson, is praising Waltenbury’s appointment calling it a breakthrough after years of lobbying.

Having a judge based in your community helps to create a more locally-responsive justice system. It improves access to justice. It means that the judiciary will be closer to the issues in your community.

The Association also notes the Ontario Court of Justice, which hears the majority of criminal and family law matters, is the busiest court in Ontario.

With the Fort Frances courthouse only having one judge at that level, the Northwest Region is also served by Superior Court judges, appointed at the federal level, however they are based in Kenora and Thunder Bay.