Training recommended for clerks of courts dealing with praedial larceny cases
The establishment of specialised Parish Courts for Praedial Larceny and training for clerks of courts in the prosecution of praedial larceny cases are among the actions being recommended to reduce the incidence of the crime.
The recommendations were made at a three-day workshop, held from May 13 to 15 as part of an ongoing public education and sensitisation programme by the agriculture ministry’s Praedial Larceny Prevention Coordination Unit.
The workshop featured presentations and case studies from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the Jamaica Constabulary Force, the Public Health Department and the Fisheries and Veterinary Services Divisions of the Ministry.
Participants included parish court judges from across the island, attorneys from the private Bar and representatives from the Ministry of Justice.
In addition to the call for continued stakeholder sensitisation and public education programmes, it was recommended that specific courts be identified in each parish to hear and determine praedial larceny cases twice per month.
The workshop was also
A proposal was also made at the workshop for a care centre to be established to serve as a single point of contact to keep victims and witnesses informed of the progress of their cases.
It was suggested that the police seek advice from the Clerks of Courts and the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on the admissibility of evidence.
An amendment of existing legislation to allow victims to give impact statements at the sentencing hearing of a convicted person and revision of the current legislation to give wider sentencing options to Judges were also among the recommendations made.
The Praedial Larceny Prevention Coordination Unit was established in March 2015 and has to date conducted sensitisation workshops with 26 clerks of the court, 46 judges and over 600 police officers.
The Unit is reporting a 14 per cent reduction in praedial larceny cases since its establishment.