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Stabroek News

Gun Court backlog unsettling, says RM
published: Friday | March 28, 2008

SENIOR RESIDENT Magistrate Glenn Brown is concerned about the slow pace at which case files for the Gun Court are being prepared by the Crown.

On Wednesday, Brown told Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn that the situation was putting resident magistrates (RMs) in an awkward positions.

"Seventy per cent of the persons who are before the courts have been here for an inordinately long period of time - three to four years," RM Brown told the DPP.

Llewellyn was in court to mention the fraud and corruption matter against North East St Elizabeth Member of Parliament (MP) Kern Spencer.

Brown told the DPP that owing to the incomplete nature of several case files RMs often are forced to take the decision to grant bail to persons accused of dangerous gun crimes, something for which RMs are often criticised.

RM Brown made it clear that he was not going to allow accused persons to languish in jail because of incomplete files and the failure to locate witnesses.

"I am not going to sit and allow these Jamaicans to sit in custody while we do nothing at all," he said.

Witnesses missing

Among the most common problems, Brown said, was the failure of the Crown to locate witnesses and take them to court.

Defence attorneys have long complained that police, in a bid to make a case against an accused, manufacture witnesses. Statements from witnesses may be admitted into evidence if the court accepts that the police have done enough to try and locate them. Some defence lawyers have said this was unfair as the witnesses do not exist.

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