Justice Ministry Collating Cases Before the Courts

Photo: Donald De La Haye Justice Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck (left), shakes hands with Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, His Excellency Sylvain Fabí, following the presentation of one of 15 desktop computers acquired for the Supreme Court’s new jury management system. The state-of-the-art equipment provided by the Government of Canada as part of a $19.2 million allocation under the Justice Undertaking for Social Transformation (JUST) Programme. The presentation was made during a brief ceremony at the Supreme Court on King Street, downtown Kingston, on Tuesday, November 1. Looking on is Chief Justice, Hon. Zaila McCalla.

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Justice is expected to have an accurate count of the number of documented criminal cases within the court system by early next year.
  • He said the move is being facilitated under the Justice Undertaking for Social Transformation (JUST) Programme and is in response to reports of a backlog of 400,000 court cases in the system.
  • He said that the courts are not getting the credit they deserve and by providing the statistics, Jamaicans will be able to see the extent of work being done “and that there are competent judges, capable of trying cases and delivering judgments”.

The Ministry of Justice is expected to have an accurate count of the number of documented criminal cases within the court system by early next year.

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck, said that a statistician has been recruited to collate the figures, which will be captured under a statistics and data management system.

He said the move is being facilitated under the Justice Undertaking for Social Transformation (JUST) Programme and is in response to reports of a backlog of 400,000 court cases in the system.

Mr. Chuck noted, however, that this figure was likely far-fetched and could be less than 100,000. He said that persons may mistakenly be counting the number of offences for which an individual is charged, rather than treating each offender as one case for trial.

“So, a person may be charged with two, three or five offences… (and if) you count five instead of one offender you are getting (a) multiplicity of offences. So, with this (statistics and data management) system, we will be able to manage the data better and be able to provide better information,” he said.

Mr. Chuck said based on the extent of work undertaken by the statistician, thus far, “we are hoping that by early next year, we will be able to provide the country with the output of the court system”.

This, he explained, includes outlining the number of cases listed and those that are either disposed of, rescheduled, or adjourned.

Mr. Chuck said the statistics and data management system will serve to enhance the criminal justice system, resulting in automated scheduling and recording in the courts.

Meanwhile, he lauded the work of the courts in dealing with matters brought before them, noting that they are “working as hard as any other area of Government”.

He said that the courts are not getting the credit they deserve and by providing the statistics, Jamaicans will be able to see the extent of work being done “and that there are competent judges, capable of trying cases and delivering judgments”.

Minister Chuck was speaking during the presentation of 15 desktop computers provided under the Canadian Government-funded JUST programme for the Supreme Court’s new jury management system.

Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, His Excellency Sylvain Fabí, handed over the computers to Minister Chuck and Chief Justice, Hon. Zaila McCalla, during a ceremony at the Supreme Court’s offices, King Street, downtown Kingston, on Tuesday (November 1),

Mrs. McCalla, in her remarks, said she is pleased with the work of the statistician. She indicated that he has been visiting courts islandwide and collating data and other information.

“From day to day, cases are being disposed of on a regular basis, but as soon as a number of cases have been disposed of, there are other cases coming in to take their place. So very soon, we (should be able to keep) an accurate count of those cases,” she pointed out.

JIS Social