JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Justice Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck, says the Government is focused on addressing delays in the courts as part of the fight against crime.
  • He was speaking during a National Security Conference on Citizen Security at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James on Thursday (July 21).
  • The Justice Minister is also imploring the police to ensure that case files are completed in order for matters to be tried.

Justice Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck, says the Government is focused on addressing delays in the courts as part of the fight against crime.

“My objective is to set certain targets so that we can seek to achieve that. I have absolutely no doubt that no criminal case should stay in the courts longer than two years and in the Resident Magistrate’s (Parish) Courts not longer than 18 months, which still is a long time. There is no reason why cases should not be tried within months and really and truly, if all the stakeholders in the criminal justice play his or her part, it can be done,” Minister Chuck said.

He was speaking during a National Security Conference on Citizen Security at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James on Thursday (July 21).

He added that Parish or Supreme Court Judges are being asked to “step up to the plate” and insist that prosecutors and defence counsels stick to trial dates.

“If judges were willing to put their foot down, a lot of cases would not have 12, 20, 30, 50 mention and trial dates. I have spoken to the judges and I have said to them ‘don’t let the prosecutor or the defence counsel twist you around their fingers. When a case is set for trial, it must be tried,” he said.

The Justice Minister is also imploring the police to ensure that case files are completed in order for matters to be tried.

“You must get the file completed. You must get the forensic certificate, the pathology report, the ballistic report because until those come, the case is not ready for trial. When you see the number of mention dates, it is oftentimes because the file is not completed,” he pointed out.

“Once your case is in the court, do everything to make sure that the file is completed within three months, and I am going to insist that if the file is not ready within three months, then some action must be taken, perhaps by the Superintendent or Liaison Officer, to find out why the file is not completed,” he added.