Saskatchewan Gen Web Project - SASKATCHEWAN AND ITS PEOPLE by JOHN HAWKES Vol 1I 1924

Volume II



What we may call the judicial period of the Stipendiary Magistrates continued from 1876 to 1885, when the Stipendiaries were made Judges. The powers of the stipendiary were those of any two Justices of Peace; they could also try without a jury, the accused assenting, any charge the maximum penalty for which did not exceed seven years' imprisonment. But if the accused did not consent then the magistrate, with an associate Justice of the Peace and a jury of six, would try. the case. When the punishment for a crime (other than punishment by death) exceeded seven years then the case had to be tried by a jury with an associate Justice of the Peace sitting with the Stipendiary. Any person sentenced to death had the right of appeal to the Court of the Queen's Bench of Mani- toba. There was no right of appeal in other criminal cases, this being in accordance with the practice of the British Empire. at the time.

By the Civil Justice Ordinance of 1878 the Territories were divided into three Judicial Districts.; one was called the Saskatchewan District with Battleford as its centre; another the Bow River District (Alberta), and the third the Qu'Appelle District. The Saskatchewan District was allotted to Stipendiary Magistrate Rouleau (who succeeded Mr. Ryan); the Bow River District to Colonel Macleod, who had resigned the Com- missionership of the Police to become a Stipendiary; and the Qu'Appelle or Assiniboia District to Stipendiary Magistrate Richardson. The Civil Justice Ordinance was amended and consolidated in 1884. Under this consolidation the three Judicial Districts were re-named as the Assiniboia, Alberta and Saskatchewan Districts respectively. The Assiniboia Dis- trict comprised the provisional district of that name; the Alberta District comprised the provisional district of Alberta south of townships num- bered forty-one; the Saskatchewan District comprised the provisional districts of Saskatchewan and Athabaska, and that portion of Alberta lying north of the Alberta Judicial District.

In 1885 the recently amended and consolidated Civil Justice Ordinance was again more or less thoroughly overhauled. The Stipendiaries ceased to exist as such, and, collectively, they were formed into a "High Court of Justice." They further became "Judges." Section 1 as substituted for section 1 of the previous ordinance ran (1) the Stipendiary Magis- trates appointed under the, Northwest Territories Act 1880 and amend- ments thereto shall be and form a Court of Civil Jurisdiction to be styled the "High Court of Justice" and the word "Judge" whenever it occurs in this Ordinance shall mean such Stipendiary Magistrate. The Judicial Districts remained the same, and there were the same three Stipendiaries or Judges, viz.: Richardson, Macleod and Rouleau. The consolidated ordinance of 1884 contained 101 sections; that of 1885 had 33 amended or substituted sections and 15 new ones; but much of this diligent law- making might have been spared had the North West Council been pre- pared for the unusual and for them, almost galvanic promptitude with which the Federal Government acted in the Session at Ottawa following that in which the North West Council, greatly daring, had established a High Court of Justice. The usual delegation had gone down from Regina to advocate Northwest claims.

In the "Speech from the Throne" in October, 1886, Lieutenant-Gover- nor Dewdney said :-"One of the most important results of the visit of your delegates has been the legislation passed during the last Session of the Dominion Parliament which provides for the establishment of a Supreme Court in the Territories, including a Court of Appeal, and in- volving the appointment of an increased number of Judges and Officers of the Court. As consequent legislation has become necessary on the part of this council I caused bills to be prepared which will be at once submitted for your consideration." A very considerable portion of the session of 1886 was therefore taken up with the new Civil Justice legis- lation. Practically the "High Court of Justice" never was more than a name. Bibliography follows:

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