Regional

Four-week Circuit Court on in St Ann

Friday, May 23, 2014    

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ST ANN'S BAY, St Ann — A four-week Circuit Court opened here on Monday to hear some 70 circuit cases and 38 Gun Court matters.

The court is being presided over by Justice Lloyd Hibbert, who declared on Monday that co-operation was needed to successfully reduce the backlog.

"We can only make a dent if there is co-operation," he said, pointing out that co-operation is needed from everyone, including the police, lawyers, jurors, witnesses and court staff.

In relation to jurors, Justice Hibbert said that approximately 56 were registered on Monday and that not all jurors who had asked to be excused will be granted their wish.

He lamented that a number of individuals get medical certificates to say they are sick when, in fact, they are not. He said that a common complaint is hypertension, although many of these individuals work in highly stressful environments.

He called on "all persons who are witnesses, all persons who are jurors to play their part".

Meanwhile, he would not be tolerating any excuse from the police for outstanding statements. He made the declaration after it was revealed that a matter could not proceed on Monday because a statement from a police officer was missing.

"I do not expect to hear, for the rest of this circuit, that there is a statement from a police officer outstanding," he told officers in court.

He implored Jamaicans to do what is right to ensure justice is served while maintaining that it was the duty of all of society to fight against crime and violence. He said too many people know of individuals who are indulging in illegal activities, but do not speak out or report it because it does not affect them.

In the meantime, prosecutor Sanchia Burrell said the crown was committed to making a significant dent in the number of cases before the court. While the list is a formidable one, she said it has decreased over the years.

She also disclosed that the police were vigilant in serving jurors with summonses, with some 90 served for this session of the circuit court.

Among the 70 circuit cases are 25 murder suits and 24 sexual offence matters.

— Renae Dixon

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