BAR Association President Ian Wilkinson yesterday lashed the Government over the failures of the justice system, noting that successive administrations have demonstrated a lack of will to fix the problems.
"Successive Governments talk about lack of resources, but it's not about lack of resources, but mental and political will," said Wilkinson.
His comments came as he addressed the court on behalf of the private bar during yesterday's opening of the Hilary Term of the Home Circuit Court.
Wilkinson bemoaned the fact that the justice system has been allocated less than one per cent of the national budget, and noted that justice should not be a "football of politics".
The circuit started with 595 cases -- 346 of which are murder.
Wilkinson, in addressing the issue of backlog, said that the high number of criminal cases shows that the State has failed the people. At another point, he noted that the justice minister had been give "basket to carry water".
According to the attorney, there is an umbilical cord between crime and the justice system, and that "we are at the edge of an abyss and we seem to accept death as a daily reality".
He urged his colleagues to speak up about the ills plaguing the system, and not be afraid of repercussions, while saying that the country's justice system is at a crisis point.
Justice Carol Beswick, who opened the circuit, said she's sure that all present would agree with 90 per cent of Wilkinson's opinions, as she urged him to continue to "speak as his heart leads".
The High Court judge said that there will be a workshop this month on reducing the backlog of cases, which, in both the High Court and the magistrate's court, numbered above 30,000. She said that while Chief Justice Zaila McCalla was working to resolve the issue, "other solutions do not require money".
"What is required is an interest in getting the job done," Beswick said.
She said the problems are multifaceted, noting that things such as providing medical and post-mortem reports in a timely manner also contribute to trials not being able to start on schedule.