British Columbia will not prosecute most prostitution cases

VANCOUVER - British Columbia has become the latest province to announce it will not prosecute most prostitution-related offenses now that Canada's highest court has ruled the laws are unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court of Canada struck down the laws in December, but said they would stay on the books for a year to give the federal government time to bring in new legislation.

A spokesman with the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch says prosecutors have decided that any ongoing or prospective prosecutions will be examined on a case-by-case basis.

Neil MacKenzie says the likelihood of prosecution will be strongest in cases where pimps, keepers of bawdy houses and customers have exploited the vulnerability of prostitutes.

MacKenzie estimates only a couple dozen such cases are currently in the system.

Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador have all sent varying signals or directives to their Crown attorneys following the Supreme Court ruling