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Lotto-scam cases dominate St James Circuit Court

Published:Friday | January 8, 2016 | 1:00 AMChristopher Thomas

Members of the legal fraternity have expressed concern over the number of lottery-scamming cases dominating the St. James Circuit Court's list for the Hilary term, which runs from January to March.

Sixty-two of the 124 cases listed for trial relate to breaches of the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) (Special Provisions) Act, popularly known as the Lotto Scam Act.

"It is clear that St James is one of the parishes in which fraud is pervasive, and in particular, where possession of identity information is pervasive," prosecutor Natalie Ebanks-Miller remarked before High Court Justice Leighton Pusey during the Circuit Court's opening session yesterday.

"It speaks to a kind of mindset that is pervasive in the parish, ... but we will do our best ... [to make a dent in] the list of cases," Ebanks-Miller added.

 

SEPARATE SITTING PROPOSED

 

Defence attorney Tamika Spencer suggested that a special court sitting should be reserved to deal exclusively with persons arrested for breaches of the Law Reform Fraudulent Transactions Act.

"There are mostly matters for possession of identity information on the list, and there had been a cry from other counsels that we should have a sitting separate from the regular Circuit Court sitting to deal with it," Spencer told Justice Pusey.

"We are about to devise a methodology ... [by which] we can attack as many of them as possible," Justice Pusey replied, though he did not elaborate on what that methodology entailed.