Tue | Oct 23, 2018

Chuck says Circuit Court can never clear backlog

Published:Tuesday | September 19, 2017 | 4:07 PM

Edmond Campbell, Senior News Reporter

Urging the various stakeholders in the justice system to make use of the newly passed Plea Bargaining law, Justice Minister Delroy Chuck has said the Circuit Courts will never be able to dispose of the more than 2,000 cases waiting to be tried.

In the Home Circuit Court alone there are 861 serious offences to be tried. 

In a statement to the House of Representatives this afternoon, Chuck noted that the courts cannot "try its way out of these cases in the short term" noting that even if they did, for each case disposed of, there are several new ones being filed.

The Circuit Courts try serious matters such as murder, rape and wounding.

Chuck said that prosecutors and defence counsel must now buy into this new system of pleas and avoid trials unless they are absolutely necessary and only in cases that can go either way.

He bemoaned that criminal cases are overwhelming the courts, saying they cannot be tried within a reasonable time and as such, breach the constitutional rights of the accused persons.