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'I am fed up!'

Judge chides CISOCA over late files

Tanesha Mundle

Friday, January 10, 2014    

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THE Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) came in for sharp rebuke from senior Resident Magistrate Judith Pusey yesterday over its late submission of case files.

The magistrate, who had complained about the problem in the past, made her frustration known after an attorney mentioned a matter in which the case was not listed as the file was not submitted in time.

"Every single day CISOCA brings a matter to be listed and the rule is that the case file should be submitted by 3:00 pm the day before," she said. "And when dem come here they are rude and have attitude."

"I am absolutely fed up!" Pusey said before instructing the CISOCA liaison officer to summon her superior.

When Deputy Superintendent of Police Veronica Gilzene appeared in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court, Pusey informed her of the issue noting that it had been happening daily since the beginning of the week and that the situation existed for a while, despite her complaints.

"Sometimes accused come and there is no file, sometimes the file is here and there is no accused and sometimes it's when a lawyer gets up on his feet that's when we are being told that file is not yet here," she said. "CISOCA seems to think that they should come and shove it on the clerk of court while he is on his feet."

"I am absolutely fed up of the attitude of CISOCA and if it doesn't stop I am going to record it and send it to where it needs to go," she warned. "It has got to stop!"

According to Pusey, the judiciary was being blamed for the backlog of cases when it was the police officers who should be blamed.

"We are not responsible for the backlog. The magistrate of this country works. I am always here and I am always on time and when you come you can't get medical reports, you can't get forensic reports because the officers are on leave or absent."

She then pointed to an earlier incident in which an accused man was remanded for sentencing in order for the police officer to get his records, but was told yesterday by the officer that he did not get a chance to go for the man's police record.

"Can you believe that?" she said. "It's absolutely mind-boggling that a constable can come before a magistrate and tell her that."

The senior magistrate said that the police officers need to start taking their work more seriously and to consider the rights of the people who are in custody as they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

"The accused persons, no matter how dangerous and devious they are, have rights," she remarked.

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