Only 90 cases set for trial in Home Circuit Court
With public concern about the court backlog triggered by the revelation that there are 1,049 cases currently before the downtown Kingston-based Home Circuit Court, the Court Management Services (CMS) has sought to clarify that only a small fraction of those cases are actually set for trial for the Easter term, which started last Wednesday and will end on July 31.
At the opening of the term last week, both prosecuting and defence attorneys expressed dismay about the heavy caseload, indicating that it would be impossible to clear all the cases before the court in the three-month period.
In a statement yesterday, CMS said there are actually 626 criminal cases scheduled for the Easter term, and that of this number, 90 are set for trial, while 46 are listed for sentencing.
It further stated that the remaining cases are scheduled for hearings such as plea and case-management hearings, bail application or mention to have files completed and made trial ready.
The statement also shed light on the impact committal proceedings have had on the caseload in the Home Circuit Court.
“Under the new committal proceedings regime that replaced preliminary enquiries in 2016, a large number of cases were transferred from the Parish Court to the Home Circuit Court as there was a transition between the systems. The transition has resulted in an over 200 per cent increase in the number of cases transferred from the Corporate Area Parish Court (Criminal Division) to the Home Circuit Court,” the release read.
Earlier this year, Chief Justice Bryan Sykes announced a raft of strategies to increase hearing date certainty and reduce delays in the Home Circuit Court.