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DPP Llewellyn lashes politicians over state of justice system

BY ANTHONY LEWIS Observer writer

Monday, June 30, 2014    

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POINT, Hanover — Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn has harshly criticised policymakers on both sides of the political fence for the limping state of the justice system, citing the need for a wake-up call.

She bemoaned that for the past three decades both political parties have failed to fund an increase in courtrooms and resources.

"It is just unfortunate that over the last 30 years, the policymakers in both political parties have not found the justice system sufficiently appealing to put the amount of resources to double or triple the number of courtrooms and human resources, as they have found for a new road that has been built for a billion or half a billion dollars," she stated.

"So you are being respectful, so you are doing your work, but you must be prepared on the appropriate occasion to rock the boat and let the public know what is happening, so that we all give more than a gentle hint to the policymakers that notwithstanding the tight fiscal space, try to find the resources so that more can be put in the justice system," she said.

The DPP was the guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Lucea's 40th Annual Presidential Installation and Dinner held at the Grand Palladium Hotel in Hanover, last Saturday evening.

During the function, Kelvin Hall, manager of the Lucea branch of the National Commercial Bank (NCB), was installed as the new president of the Rotary Club of Lucea.

According to the DPP, coming out of a recent report to her from the St Ann Circuit Court which sat for five weeks, there were 113 cases, of which 73 were circuit matters and another 40 were Gun Court matters. She lamented that so enormous was the list that she was forced to send a deputy director and a crown counsel to deal with the matters.

Llewellyn said that of these matters, 21 were ready, but failed to get off the ground because the court was only able to deal with one case at a time.

She argued that in order to facilitate the recently concluded Vybz Kartel case, which took 65 days to be completed, at least 40 matters had to be put off.

Using the analogy of pouring water into a glass which is already filled, she stated: "You cannot dispose of 113 cases in five weeks, and if you are going to double the time in 10 weeks, you don't have the staff, the number of prosecutors, court reporters and judges to do that. So what is happening is that the system is almost turning in on itself, because with the rate of crime having doubled and tripled in some areas over the last 30 years, you have more cases being fed into the system, but the number of courts has not increased at all."

Llewellyn expressed the dire need for improvement in the system in order to mete out justice to those affected.

"More resources have to be put into the administration of justice because the people that we serve need to have their concerns validated. Accused persons need to have their cases disposed of in a timely manner. Victims of crime need to be able to see that the system is working and most importantly for the general governance in the country, it is important that those who are innocent are acquitted, and those who are guilty are convicted," asserted Llewellyn.

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