The provincial Public Prosecution Service has hired two new Crown attorneys to focus on sexual assault cases.
Constance MacIsaac and Danielle Fostey will concentrate on sexual assault prosecutions and provide specialized training to other Crown attorneys, the prosecution service said Thursday in a news release.
MacIsaac and Fostey will also develop resources for their colleagues in this area of the law, such as legal briefs, legal research and measures for monitoring Crown attorneys’ performances in the prosecution of sexual violence cases.
Both appointees are experienced lawyers with solid legal backgrounds in dealing with sexual offences, gender-based violence and vulnerable victims, the prosecution service said.
“The addition of these two specialized Crown attorneys will increase the overall effectiveness of sexual assault prosecutions across the province,” Denise Smith, deputy director of public prosecutions, said in the release.
“Their past work has had a specific focus in this area and their commitment to ensuring the best possible sexual violence prosecutions is particularly noteworthy.”
The two new prosecutors will conduct sexual violence cases themselves or with other Crown attorneys and provide legal and strategic advice for other prosecutors. They will also work with legal, law enforcement and advocacy stakeholder groups.
This model of addressing sexual assault prosecutions will complement Nova Scotia’s sexual violence strategy launched in 2015, the prosecution service said.
MacIsaac, a native of Port Hawkesbury, graduated in 1998 from the University of New Brunswick with a bachelor of arts in sociology, in 2007 from Dalhousie University with an honours bachelor of arts in gender and women’s studies and in 2010 from Dalhousie’s Schulich School of Law.
She articled with Evans MacIsaac MacMillan in Port Hawkesbury and joined the Dartmouth office of Nova Scotia Legal Aid in 2011, practising both criminal and civil law with a focus on mental health law, including issues of fitness, criminal responsibility, capacity and competency. MacIsaac has professional experience working with genderbased violence. She has training and experience working with violent and sexual offending risk assessment tools, mental health first aid training, as well as crisis intervention training.
She has worked with the Nova Scotia Transition House Association and the Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver, where she helped women who have experienced sexual violence. She has also worked collaboratively with police and advocacy groups who support women through the court process following sexual violence.
Fostey, from St. Paul, Alta., graduated in 2010 with a bachelor of arts from the University of Alberta and in 2013 from Queen’s University law school. Active in her Métis community, she was the president of the Aboriginal Law Students Association while at Queen’s.
She was a judicial law clerk with the British Columbia Supreme Court before articling in Vancouver. In 2015, she was appointed a Crown attorney in Fort McMurray, Alta.
In Fort McMurray, Fostey was the lead prosecutor on domestic violence cases and worked with a team to support victims of domestic violence in the community and courtroom. Most cases she prosecuted involved sexual violence and vulnerable victims.
She has undergone specific training focused on a traumainformed approach, use of toxicology and medical reports, prosecuting sexual violence crimes against children and evidentiary issues specific to sexual violence.
Fostey is passionate about equality rights, the prosecution service said, and has focused her criminal law practice on making the justice system accessible to victims.