JIS News

Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has mandated the Director of Public Prosecutions to submit reports on the work and performance of that department at timely intervals to Parliament. The Prime Minister made the formal request on Tuesday (April 27) during his contribution to the 2004/05 Budget Debate in Gordon House.
“Until the Constitutional requirements which govern the duties of the Director of Public Prosecutions have been revisited, I am supporting the view that the Director of Public Prosecutions should be required to submit reports at timely intervals to Parliament on the work and performance of that Department,” the Prime Minister declared.
He noted that although from time to time persons with a sufficient legal interest might seek judicial review of certain rulings made by the Director of Public Prosecutions, “in this age in which access to information is a key component of transparency, accountability and development, there is the question of whether those constitutional arrangements should not be revisited”.
Turning to the progress being made to address the backlog of cases in the island’s justice system, he noted that there have been several initiatives that were introduced.
These, he said, included the Night Court; the Drug Court; the Regional Gun Courts, with sittings during vacation time; the widening of the Resident Magistracy, so that there are at least two Resident Magistrates in every parish.
Other initiatives, he said, were a system whereby all Clerks of the Court are trained attorneys-at-law; the inclusion of a Court Administrator in each court; the training of Stenotype writers for the Resident Magistrates Court; the New Civil Procedure Rules and Case Management in civil matters and Dispute Resolution mechanisms.
Meanwhile, he said that later this year, in accordance with an announcement made last year, legislation on plea-bargaining would be introduced.”We intend to go further and introduce case management in criminal cases as well as civil ones. Every case committed for trial in the Circuit Court would now be managed by a Judge to ensure that the issues are clearly defined and that only necessary witnesses are called at the trial,” he disclosed.

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