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Push for full implementation of Criminal Case Management initiative

Tuesday, January 07, 2014    

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CHIEF Justice Zaila McCalla has emphasised that full implementation of Criminal Case Management in the country's courts must be achieved.

"That is an initiative that will be pressed this year with even greater fervour," Justice McCalla said.

The chief justice was speaking at the swearing-in of five judges by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen at King's House, yesterday.

Criminal Case Management is an administrative hearing to resolve whatever issues there are in a case and to ensure that everything is ready before the matter is set down for trial.

The initiative is being spearheaded by Justice McCalla, and a Steering Committee chaired by Appeal Court Judge Dennis Morrison.

"There are initiatives which are being pursued and we will, in due course, continue to press for improvement in this very vital area. It is also necessary for us to emphasise that all stakeholders in the justice system must be involved in this process and must be supportive of this initiative, as it is very important," Justice McCalla said.

She added that there is obvious need for the justice system to be improved, not only because of the number of cases currently in the system, but also of those cases that are coming in at a rapid rate.

"Therefore, great commitment and dedication is required from all stakeholders to address these challenges. Judges of course must lead the process and must be proactive and do what is in our power to minimise delays and address the backlog of cases, such as setting timelines to manage criminal cases effectively," Justice McCalla said.

She noted that limited resources must be used wisely and that judicial time should not be wasted.

"It is not desirable for any criminal case to proceed to trial unless a case management conference has been held to address outstanding issues which could be dealt with before the commencement of the trial. Otherwise, trials will proceed with seemingly no end in sight and this situation is to be avoided at all cost," the chief justice said.

Justice McCalla congratulated the judges, and thanked them for their dedication and commitment.

Sworn in were Justices Ingrid Mangatal and Carol Lawrence Beswick to act as judges of appeal; Sharon Ayton George, who was appointed puisne judge; Audre Lindo to act as puisne judge; and Rosemarie Harris, to act as master-in-chambers.

— JIS

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