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Hanover Circuit Court opens for Easter session

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Observer writer

Thursday, June 15, 2017

 

HAUGHTON COURT, Hanover

Supreme Court Judge, Justice Nicole Simmons, in her opening address at the Hanover Circuit Court on Monday, argued that the use of plea-bargaining would play a pivotal role in reducing the backlog of court cases.

"In other jurisdictions, the reasons why we don't have backlogs like that is because in many cases where it (case) is not going anywhere, persons will plea when it is appropriate.

And we need to get away from this mentality of fighting to the end when there is nothing to fight about, and that goes for both sides," Justice Simmons stated at the beginning of the Easter session of this year's sitting of the Circuit Court.

At Monday's opening it was revealed that the number of cases scheduled for trial in Hanover stands at 69.

Prosecutor Christine Johnson Spence noted that of this number, 48 are traversing matters while new committals were 21.

Johnson Spence pointed out that 15 are murder matters, 10 are for the position of identity information, five for rape, among various other offences.

It was also disclosed that 37 of the 92 people who were served to perform juror duties are regular on the list.

"I am heartened because I have been in other parishes and we do not see this turnout," expressed Johnson Spence.

Meanwhile, Justice Simmons spoke about the need to embrace case management as well as for people to return to basics where law and order was concerned, starting in the homes.

"We have a serious problem in our nation and we need to deal with it," she argued.

For his part, Attorney-at-law Delford Morgan lauded amendments made to the justice system to include committal proceedings, court management, among others.

"I cannot accuse the powers that be of doing nothing. Indeed over the last several years we had some changes and amendments. I speak to measures such as committal proceedings, court management among others," stated Morgan.

Justice Simmons, who is serving in Hanover for the first time, commended the Jamaica Constabulary Force marching band, which performed at the opening.

"The police was out in their numbers this morning. I must commend the officers (led by commanding officer for Hanover, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Sharon Beeput) and the musicians. It was very nice. You were almost tempted to do a little jig yourself, because it was just so good. Thank you very much for that," said Justice Simmons.

— Anthony Lewis