Fri | Feb 28, 2020

Prosecutors are wasting time, says chief justice

Published:Thursday | December 13, 2018 | 12:00 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer
Chief Justice Bryan Sykes (left); Dennis Morrison (second left), president of the Court of Appeal); Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck (second right); and Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska (right), head of the European Union Delegation to Jamaica, cut the ribbon for the newly expanded Court of Appeal building on King Street, downtown Kingston, yesterday.

Chief Justice Bryan Sykes has criticised members of the prosecution for what he describes as their inefficient use of time in the management and presentation of their cases in the nation's courts.

"I think too much time is spent by the prosecution and by other prosecutorial agencies presenting their cases. We have a case going on where the prosecution is not halfway through its case just yet, and, in my view, that is really the consequence of inefficient planning, inefficient use of time, and really not thinking through how the information is going to be managed and presented to the court," Sykes said at the official opening of the newly expanded Court of Appeal building in downtown Kingston yesterday.

In 2015, Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn renewed her call for her office to be given the right to appeal after a Westmoreland jury returned a not-guilty verdict for a pastor who was accused of bigamy. Martin Gayle, who was the presiding judge, described the verdict as disgraceful.

Sykes has joined in the call for the prosecution to get that right.

"I think the time has come because I don't think we can have a modern justice system where the Crown does not have the right to appeal, certainly in some circumstances," he said.

The chief justice also said that the case-management process must be more extensive.

"In terms of the actual trial process itself, we have to take the case-management process further where we do not spend a lot of time during trial dealing with admissibility questions. That is what takes up a lot of time in the trial," Sykes said.

"We need to streamline the process even further, where all of those matters are dealt with outside of the trial process so that when the trial commences, everybody knows what the exhibits are, what will be in, what will be out and so the trial can move along smoothly."