Tue | Sep 26, 2017

Special courts for praedial larceny cases

Published:Thursday | May 11, 2017 | 5:15 AM
The Jamaica Agricultural Society estimates that farm theft is costing an average $5 billion a year.

The Government has set up special courts to handle praedial larceny cases.

Agriculture and Commerce Minister, Karl Samuda, said the initiative is the result of the work of his ministry and the Chief Justice.

According to Samuda, the Chief Justice has identified specific courts and parish court judges to hear and determine praedial larceny cases twice a month.

He said this is to help address the backlog of farm theft cases currently before the court.

Samuda informed that the Ministry, in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Justice, has sensitised parish court judges, clerks of court and police personnel on the nature and extent of praedial larceny in Jamaica.

He said a special cadre of police personnel and clerks of court  have been identified and trained to address farm theft related cases. 

Meanwhile, Samuda said his ministry has established a Praedial Larceny Victims and Witness Care Unit, where victims or witnesses in praedial larceny cases can get information on the progress of their cases.

He noted that farmers have often complained about not being informed on matters related to their cases which are either before the court or under investigated.

Samuda also reiterated that the law is to be amended to apply stiffer penalties for farm theft.

The Jamaica Agricultural Society estimates that farm theft is cost an average $5 billion a year.