Chief Justice, Hon. Zalia McCalla, is urging Clerks of the Court to be thorough in their preparation for praedial larcey cases.
She described praedial larceny as a problem that has plagued the country for many decades, and another area where criminal elements continue to try and weaken and destabilise the foundation of the society.
Addressing a Sensitisation Seminar for Clerks of the Court, on the 'Challenges of Praedial Larceny', at the Braco Village Hotel and Spa, in Trelawny, on July 21, the Chief Justice said the activity amounts to dishonest persons seeking to reap where they have not sown, and to deprive others of the fruits of their labour.
She pointed out that gone are the days when offences involving agricultural products were committed to satisfy a craving or hunger, as thieves are now stealing entire crops, and are perpetrating violent acts in the course of doing so, putting farmers in fear of their lives.
Justice McCalla said this has led to the belief among farmers that there is an inadequacy within the justice system to deal with this particular type of crime.
"I would like to remind Clerks of the Court that you should make yourselves familiar with the relevant legislation and regulations in this area. I would also like to encourage you that in approaching these cases, your preparation should be thorough," she said, adding that praedial larceny now affects the economic wellbeing of the whole country.
The Chief Justice said she is not excluding other matters of importance, but argued that in the area of praedial larceny, Clerks of the Court should ensure that their cases are presented with such thoroughness that if accused persons are in fact guilty, they should be found guilty.
"The success of the praedial larceny prevention programme will depend on the sensitisation and the co-operation of all participants in the justice system, and therefore it requires that you become aware of all the issues that are involved in this area," she told the Clerks of the Court.
The seminar was organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice, the Justice Training Institute and Court Management Services.