Thu | Jun 20, 2019

Bomb hoax forces Supreme Court closure

Published:Tuesday | September 18, 2018 | 12:00 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer
Members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force participate in the parade marking the start of the Home Circuit Court’s Michaelmas session at the Supreme Court in downtown Kingston yesterday.

Possibly adding to the high number of backlogged cases in the court system, operations at the Supreme Court in downtown Kingston came to a halt yesterday as a result of a reported bomb threat.

The suspected threat sent people scurrying for safety while members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force's bomb squad and K-9 unit, the Jamaica Fire Brigade as well as the Jamaica Defence Force carried out a detailed search of the building.

The alarm was raised just moments after the parade marking the start of the Home Circuit Court's Michaelmas session came to an end and members of the judiciary, guests and others were expected to make their way into the building for the second part of the opening day's activities.

Justice J. Straw, who was slated to deliver the chief justice's message, as well as other High Court judges were whisked away; however, it took almost two hours until buses arrived to transport staff members to safety.

There were also some individuals who did not seem to take the warning seriously, as many remained in the immediate vicinity for well over an hour after the evacuation order was issued, despite being urged to leave by security forces.

Drivers of motor vehicles parked in the adjacent three-storey parking facility were also asked to remove their vehicles.

Deputy Superintendent of Police for the Kingston Central division, Robert Phoenix, who was on location, told The Gleaner that no suspicious objects were found in the building. It subsequently was reopened to the public.

This is the third security issue at one of the island's courts in recent times, as operations at the Trelawny, and Kingston and St Andrew and parish courts were disrupted on August 21 and September 4, respectively.