News

Chief justice calls for prosecution to be given right to appeal

BY TANESHA MUNDLE
Observer staff reporter
mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Print this page Email A Friend!


CHIEF Justice Bryan Sykes has echoed long-standing calls for the prosecution to be given the right to appeal, noting that the time has come for it to be implemented in the island.

Over the years, Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn has been advocating for the right to appeal, and for policymakers and the Government to look at amending the law that would allow prosecutors to appeal in matters where the verdict is unfavourable to the Crown.

Speaking at the official opening of the recently expanded Court of Appeal in downtown Kingston yesterday,

He also suggested that the present case management procedure needs to go a step further by also dealing with the admissibility of evidence, instead of during trials, where it takes up time.

“We need to streamline the process where all of those matters are dealt with outside of the trial, so that when the trial commences everybody knows what the exhibits are and what is in and what will be out, and so that the trial can move along smoothly.

“In that process, one may wish to consider whether the Crown should have a right to appeal depending on what the ruling is, and I think the time has come, because I don't think we can continue to have a modern criminal justice system where the Crown does not have the right to appeal, certainly in certain circumstances,” he said.

However, at the same time, the chief justice said he is concerned about the way in which criminal trials are being inefficiently presented and managed.

“Too much time is spent by the prosecution and other prosecutorial agencies in presenting their case,” he said. “We have a case now going on where we're in the third week, and the prosecution is not halfway through its case as yet; and my view is that it's really a consequence of inefficient planning, inefficient use of time, and really not thinking through how the information is going to be managed and presented to the court. I think we need to do some work there.”

Chief Justice Sykes also emphasised that effective utilisation of time is an important component in having a first-class legal system.

“Regardless of the type of facilities that we have and the number of courts that we have, the numbers of judges that we have, everyone has a role to play in making us become efficient and to utilise the courtrooms and judicial time as efficiently as possible,” he said.

According to the chief justice, matters in the system can be dealt with in a considerably shorter period of time, and this, he said, is evident from the appeal case involving Adidja “Vbyz Kartel” Palmer, which took less than 14 days owing to the fact that both the defence and the prosecution had submitted copies of all their arguments.

In the meantime, the chief justice also issued a call for the legislation to be further amended so that appeal cases can be dealt with by a single judge, instead of going before a panel of three judges.

“Regarding the status of procedural appeals, I think that if the legislation is amended now so that a single judge of the Court of Appeal could do it, then it would go a far way in disposing of those appeals quickly,” he said.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT