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DPP tackles Gun Court backlog

Published:Tuesday | April 24, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn has taken a drastic step toward weeding out cases in the Gun Court which are going nowhere.

Yesterday, Llewellyn, appearing in the Gun Court, said she would be in the mention court for the next three weeks.

Other senior prosecutors will take turns this term to monitor the cases to ensure that only cases which are ready are placed on the trial list.

Llewellyn said yesterday she remitted two cases to the Resident Magistrate's Court because of insufficiency of evidence to ground the charge of illegal possession of firearm.

Llewellyn pointed out that the mention court was where all the new cases were listed and that court was the feeder court for the Gun Court.

Quick judgment

She explained that senior prosecutors would be able to assess the new cases and give advice if other statements were needed. She said the senior prosecutors would keep within the time lines of the kind of judgment that will have to be made quickly in the cases.

She explained that it was not that no evidence was being offered in some cases, but she has indicated to the defence lawyers that this term she and her senior staff would spend time in the Gun Court to enhance the disposal of cases.

Llewellyn said extra guidance would be given to the court staff in terms of the preparation of the cases. She said junior prosecutors usually appear in the Gun Court, but this term they will get guidance from the senior prosecutors who will appear with them.

Commenting on the huge backlog of cases in the Gun Court, Llewellyn said it should be remembered that Jamaica is a high-crime environment and that was one of the reasons for the large number of cases.