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  • Five judges, who have been appointed to serve in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, were sworn into office on January 5 during a ceremony at King’s House.
  • Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, who presided over the ceremony, congratulated the judges, noting that their appointment is indicative of the quality service they have given so far to the court system.
  • He further encouraged them to build on the legacy of fairness and equality in the nation’s judicial system.

Five judges, who have been appointed to serve in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, were sworn into office on January 5 during a ceremony at King’s House.

They are: the Hon. Justice Almarie A. Sinclair Haynes, who has been appointed to act as judge of the Court of Appeal; Mr. Kissock Christopher St. E. Laing, who has been appointed as puisne judge; Mr. Chester R. Stamp; Her Hon. Lorna E. Shelly Williams, and Mrs. Vinette B. Graham Allen, who have been appointed to act as puisne judges.

Justice Haynes’ appointment will become effective on January 12, while the others will take effect on January 7.

Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, who presided over the ceremony, congratulated the judges, noting that their appointment is indicative of the quality service they have given so far to the court system.

“Continue to remember as you serve that Jamaica is depending upon you to uphold the tradition of judicial excellence by discharging your responsibilities faithfully, truthfully, and also mercifully,” he said.

He further encouraged them to build on the legacy of fairness and equality in the nation’s judicial system.

Addressing the backlog of cases in the nation’s courts, he said it is hoped that Justices of the Peace (JP) will be able to assist in this area.

“I do hope …that this year, you won’t have to have so many cases come in to the Supreme Court and the High Court for that matter because hopefully, with the training that is being given to our JPs, a lot of things can happen at the lower level, which can help to mitigate some of the situations that will arise at the higher level,” he said.

He also commended the members of the Judicial Services Commission for the job they do in the selection of the judges.

Chief Justice, Hon. Zaila McCalla, who was in attendance, informed that steps are being taken to address the issue of timeliness, such as the employment of judicial clerks to assist judges with research in writing judgments, and partnering with the law school for part-time judicial assistance.

She congratulated the appointees, noting that they are well qualified and capable of assisting in addressing many of the reforms necessary as the nation strives to improve the justice system.

“We are of the view that their vast experience, their dedication and commitment demonstrated in Jamaica, as well as in other jurisdictions, will enable them to render the high quality of service and dedication that is required in our country,” she said.

Responding on behalf of the appointees, Justice Sinclair Haynes said they are humbled by the confidence reposed in them and are honoured to continue serving the country.

“For me, it is truly a privilege to be allowed to act as a judge of the Court of Appeal.  I am cognisant of the magnitude of responsibility, which attends the office. For many, the Court of Appeal is their last hope of obtaining justice,” she said, arguing that a country that fails to provide justice hinders social progress.

“We are mindful that the law is a jealous mistress and we are committed to working tirelessly as her willing servants. We appreciate that delayed justice is indeed injustice and we are committed to the delivery of justice in a timely manner,” she added.