JIS News

Story Highlights

  • This is the first time that a sitting of that Court is being held outside of Kingston.
  • There is no reason in law or in logic for all the sittings of the Court to be held in Kingston only.
  • Consultations will be taking place among the Judges at the sitting to discuss how best to facilitate the movement of the media into live proceedings.

History was created in the town of Lucea, Hanover, on December 9, with the start of a week-long sitting of the Court of Appeal.

This is the first time that a sitting of that Court is being held outside of Kingston.

Several lawyers from across western Jamaica were in attendance at the historic occasion.

During a specially organized ceremony inside the courtroom to mark the occasion, President of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Seymour Panton, emphasized that there is no reason in law or in logic for all the sittings of the Court to be held in Kingston only.

He told journalists that for some time he has entertained and nourished the idea that the Court of Appeal ought to sit in the County of Cornwall on a regular basis.

“The main reason for such thinking has been the fact that there is a significant number of appeals from this County, and there is also the question of the expense and inconvenience to litigants which has to be considered,” he said.

With the media presence very evident to record the historic happening, Justice Panton pointed out that some tolerance has been extended, but some protocol will have to be developed.

“We are thinking that we are approaching that time when protocol ought to be developed, where the media would have access to our proceedings live; however, a protocol has to be developed because we do not intend for any situation to be created where persons get the impression that they are starring in a role,” he said.

Justice Panton noted that consultations will be taking place among the Judges at the sitting to discuss how best to facilitate the movement of the media into live proceedings, which he said, would be another first within the system.

Meanwhile, participating Appeal Court Judges, Hon. Justice Dennis Morrison, and Hon. Justice Patrick Brooks, expressed the hope that the sitting of the Court in the west will achieve its objective.

For her part, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Paula Llewellyn, said it is important for accountability and transparency that the general public understand what takes place in the courts.

She emphasized that the presence of the media at the special sitting of the court was very important, as they provide information on what is happening to the masses.

President of the Cornwall Bar Association, Michael Erskine, said members of the association are elated that a sitting of the Court of Appeal in the County of Cornwall has become a reality.

He described the event as a “bold and innovative initiative” for which the Appeal Court Judges ought to be congratulated.