Wed | Oct 18, 2017

Supreme Court cases backlog could be worsening, DPP braces for hectic Hilary term

Published:Monday | January 9, 2017 | 12:33 PM
Justice Carol Lawrence-Beswick observe police personnel today as they march by at the end of the circuit court opening ceremony in downtown Kingston.

Livern Barrett, Senior Gleaner Writer

The backlog of cases before the Supreme Court appears to be worsening.

Figures released by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) show that 620 cases are down for trial during the court's Hilary term, which got underway this morning after a short ceremony in downtown Kingston.

This represents an 18 per cent increase when compared with the 522 cases that were down for trial at the start of the Hilary term last year.

The figure this year was boosted by a near 800 per cent increase in new cases transferred from the Parish Courts in accordance with the Committal Proceedings Act.

The Office of the DPP says 144 new cases were transferred from the Parish Court, compared to just 16 last year.

The remaining 476 cases were traversed from the Michaelmas term, which ended last December with the disposal of 60 cases.

Speaking at the opening ceremony this morning, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn, lamented that the Committal Proceedings Act is putting what she described as a tsunami of cases on her office.

Llewellyn says her office and other stakeholders in the judicial process will now have to assume superhuman status to deal with the backlog of cases.

A breakdown of the 620 cases down for trial during the Hilary term show that 298 are for murder while 105 are for sexual offences.