Gov't wants cases not tried after two years automatically dismissed
Jerome Reynolds, Staff Reporter - Radio
The Justice Ministry is moving to have a policy implemented whereby certain offences before the Resident Magistrate’s Court which are not tried within two years would be automatically dismissed.
Justice Minister, Senator Mark Golding made the disclosure in the Senate this afternoon.
Senator Golding said the move is a part of measures being pursued to help reduce the backlog of cases.
He noted that under the law, persons are guaranteed a right to trial within a reasonable time.
The justice minister said the current system is unsatisfactory as there are a number of cases before the courts for years which have not been tried.
According to Golding, discussions on the policy have already been held with stakeholders and a submission is now to be made to Cabinet.
He said if the new measure works successfully in clearing the backlog in the Resident Magistrate's courts, then similar measures will be implemented in the higher courts.
Meanwhile, persons convicted of certain serious crimes such as non-capital murder, firearm-related offences and various sexual offences including rape, could benefit from new laws aimed at giving discounted sentences.
Senator Golding said the new Criminal Justice Administration and Judicature laws are to be tabled in parliament soon.
He said that if approved by parliament, they would empower judges to impose sentences which are lesser than those mandated by law.
Golding, who was responding to questions tabled by Opposition Senator, Robert Montague, said the statutory imposition of minimum mandatory sentences for firearm offences has resulted in a reluctance by individuals to plead guilty.
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