ALBERTA

2,100 Alberta Court Of Appeal Records Accidentally Shredded

08/13/2012 12:44 EDT | Updated 10/13/2012 05:12 EDT
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Alberta Justice is still trying to piece together some court records that were mistakenly destroyed last year.

The criminal and civil Court of Appeal cases were accidentally put through a shredder.

Defence lawyer Andre Ouellette says this could be a big loss.

“People who may have been convicted when there was no DNA available is now available, and it may in fact ensure that people were innocent," he said. "If we don't have the Court of Appeal decision, and on what basis they made a decision, that may be a problem.”

The boxes containing notice of motions and statements of fact were to be moved to the archives, but 2,100 criminal and civil cases from the early '90s were destroyed.

They only noticed months later when someone went searching for the documents.

The records are supposed to be kept forever, so staff is trying to piece together the information again from other court sources and lawyers' offices.

“The reason we need to recreate them is because those files provide the courts, the bar, legal researchers and the public with the ability to access historical Court of Appeal files,” said Alberta Justice spokesperson Michelle Davio.

Service Alberta says it has made changes to make sure documents don't end up in a shredder again.