Measures to Reduce Case Backlog

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Photos Chief Justice, Hon. Zaila McCalla (left), in discussion with (from second left) President of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Dennis Morrison; and Superintendent of Police, Manchester Division, Wayne Cameron, during a tour of exhibitions at a Public Education Day at the Manchester Parish Court on October 25.

Story Highlights

  • The Criminal Case Management Steering Committee has brought together stakeholders from across the judiciary who are committed to the implementation of measures to reduce case backlog.
  • She noted that the recent staging of the second instalment of the Sentence Reduction Day initiative was one of the measures out of the Criminal Case Management Steering Committee, which was successfully carried out. The initiative was rolled out on October 19 and 20 in the Home Circuit and Gun Courts in Kingston and St. Catherine.
  • “We recognise the need to have changes in order to address the growing demands on our justice system, and we believe that it is important for the public not only to be informed about the areas of challenge but also to be informed about the successful implementation of various programmes and legislative amendments to address the situation,” she said.

The Criminal Case Management Steering Committee has brought together stakeholders from across the judiciary who are committed to the implementation of measures to reduce case backlog.

Chief Justice, Hon. Zaila McCalla, said the Committee, made up of representatives from a cross section of civil society agencies, including the Jamaica Constabulary Force, the Ministry of Justice, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Defence Bar, is working to craft solutions.

“[We are trying] to do what we can, within the limited resources that we have, to address the situation,” she said.

Mrs. McCalla was addressing a Public Education Day event at the Manchester Parish Court on October 25.

The Chief Justice said a series of sensitisation sessions is being hosted with specific stakeholders for engagement on the efficiency of the court system and the proposed measures to enhance this.

She noted that the recent staging of the second instalment of the Sentence Reduction Day initiative was one of the measures out of the Criminal Case Management Steering Committee, which was successfully carried out. The initiative was rolled out on October 19 and 20 in the Home Circuit and Gun Courts in Kingston and St. Catherine.

The initiative provided an opportunity for accused persons to enter a guilty plea and benefit from a maximum of up to 50 per cent reduction in their sentence. A total of 57 cases were disposed of over the two days.

 

“This initiative was meant to highlight a legal provision in the Justice Reform Administration Act, which was amended to accommodate it. The legal provision is in force in all parishes in courts at all levels; the provision is on the books… and so what we are seeking to do is to make persons aware of them and be encouraged to utilise these measures,” Mrs. McCalla said.

She hailed members of the public and private bar for embracing the measures to make the justice system more efficient.

The Chief Justice further urged the media to seek to promote the positive initiatives being carried out by the sector.

“We recognise the need to have changes in order to address the growing demands on our justice system, and we believe that it is important for the public not only to be informed about the areas of challenge but also to be informed about the successful implementation of various programmes and legislative amendments to address the situation,” she said.

The Public Education Day in Mandeville featured exhibitions by a number of agencies that work closely with the justice sector, and sought to create greater awareness and access to justice services.

 

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