TV court June 8?

Chuck hoping NIDS challenge can be live streamed

BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS
Senior staff reporter
saundersa@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, May 25, 2018

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JUSTICE Minister Delroy Chuck says that with, the approval of the chief justice, on June 8 there could be live streaming of the first hearing in the claim brought by People's National Party (PNP) General Secretary Julian Robinson challenging the constitutionality of the national identification system (NIDS) legislation that was passed in Parliament amidst controversy last year.

The court proceeding would be the first to feature under the Government's proposed initiative to live stream select civil and criminal court proceedings as a means of improving transparency in the justice system.

The Opposition is insisting that sections of the Act infringe on the right to security of a person; the right to privacy; the right to due process; the right to equality before the law; and the right to a passport, among other things.

“It's something I will discuss with the chief justice. There is a court downtown where we have a system that works, so if he agrees and the judge can sit in that court, the answer is yes. If the chief justice agrees that it could be live streamed, then everything could be done in that court,” Chuck said yesterday.

He also noted that so far he has had positive feedback from discussions with stakeholders on the proposal.

“From the response of the chief justice and from the response of the stakeholders, there were really no open objections. At the National Council on Justice meeting, where it was raised, one got the impression that there would be no objection once a proper protocol is developed,” he stated.

“I have no difficulty if June the 8th we are able to put this system in place and the court agrees. Just like the Privy Council that [does] live streaming of their cases, there should be no reason why it should not be live streamed. My real disappointment is that we can't do it right now,” he said when the Jamaica Observer asked for a live streaming timeline.

Meanwhile, the minister indicated that there were some challenges with the installation of the software contracted by the European Union (UE), which is funding the project.

“We have been having umpteen meetings with the provider of the system… this contractor that we have been working with for the last eight months, it's just not working, [but] the EU has been asking us to give him some more time,” Chuck said.

He explained that the sponsors want to allow the contractor ample opportunity to complete the job but, he noted that at the same time software already exists in the justice system which could facilitate live streaming.

“I hope (by next week) we have the system that works… the system that we have now, we just want their permission to put it in place. I'm hoping once they (the EU) sign off to say it (the new software) is not working we can put in the system that we have that's working,” he said.

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