JIS News

Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, has emphasised that in order for Jamaica and its justice system to reap the full benefits of forensic science technology, it is essential that the stakeholders be properly trained.
“Criminal justice professionals need to be educated about the value and limitations of forensic evidence. The police, prosecutors, defence counsel, judges and jurors, all require some degree of training in order to do their jobs properly,” she pointed out, during her address at the Faculty of Medical Science Annual Research Conference, held at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus in Kingston, recently.
The conference was held under the theme: ‘The Role of Forensic Medicine in Arbitrating Justice’.
“Enhanced training for investigators, medical examiners, coroners, crime scene investigators, and other related professionals in evidence identification, collection, preservation, and court presentation, is essential for the effective use of new forensic technologies,” the Minister said.
In addition to training, she explained that there is also the need for proper infrastructural development, for forensic technology to be advanced in the society.
“Not only is there need for improved methodology, new techniques and increased emphasis on research and development, but this advance must, of necessity, also include focus on education and training, the development of proper facilities, and the forming of partnerships among the groups which make up the wider forensic community,” Senator Lightbourne noted.
According to the Justice Minister, forensic experts need to be aware of the new court procedures, in order to produce timely reports to help prevent the backlog of cases.
“Forensic experts, and in particular, forensic pathologists, must be sensitised to the new court procedures and the importance of timely analysis and submission of reports. The delays in obtaining these reports contribute, to some degree, to the backlog of cases in our courts,” she said.
In the meantime, the Minister is calling for matters relating to forensic technology, to be simplified for the public to understand.
“Education must also include public awareness of the meaning and importance of forensic medicine. Matters such as DNA sampling, for example, must be explained in simple language, so that the public understands what it is. Post mortem and other expert reports must be simplified and made more reader friendly,” she stressed.