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Legislation geared towards clearing case backlog passed

Published:Wednesday | October 16, 2013 | 10:39 AM

Jerome Reynolds, Staff Reporter

The House of Representative has passed legislation aimed at clearing the backlog of cases in the court.

This will be facilitated through the Committal Proceeding Act which will eliminate preliminary enquiries.

At present, witnesses are required to give their testimony at the preliminary enquiry stage.

However, the new legislation will allow committal proceedings to be conducted based on the written witness statements taken by the police.

It has been noted over the years that the intimidation of witnesses has become a major challenge to the justice system.

In giving his support for the bill, the Opposition Spokesman on Justice Delroy Chuck said steps need to be taken to set out guidelines, to complement the new legislation, for the disposal of cases.

Pointing to a Tuesday Gleaner article which outlined the case of a man who has been in custody for seven years without bail or trial, Chuck lamented that the timely dispensation of justice must be given priority.

Earlier this year the Justice Minister revealed that the backlog of cases in the island's Resident Magistrate’s courts passed the 200,000 mark.

The 2011 Economic and Social Survey showed that there were 14,376 preliminary examination cases brought forward while 45,541 Resident Magistrate's Courts' summary cases were brought forward.


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