JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Ongoing efforts by the Ministry of Justice to build the capacity of Case Progression Officers (CPOs) will result in a more efficient case-management process and a reduction in delays in the criminal justice system.
  • This is being achieved through training workshops, the first of which was held on April 1 at the Jewels Runaway Bay Beach Resort and Spa in St. Ann, to engage CPOs on best practices, improve competencies and provide an opportunity for feedback.
  • CPOs are tasked with carrying out several essential administrative and other functions to ensure smooth and efficient progression of the trial process.

Ongoing efforts by the Ministry of Justice to build the capacity of Case Progression Officers (CPOs) will result in a more efficient case-management process and a reduction in delays in the criminal justice system.

This is being achieved through training workshops, the first of which was held on April 1 at the Jewels Runaway Bay Beach Resort and Spa in St. Ann, to engage CPOs on best practices, improve competencies and provide an opportunity for feedback.

A second workshop is scheduled for June.

The initiative is being undertaken through the Justice Reform Implementation Unit (JRIU), a programme of the Justice Undertakings for Social Transformation (JUST) project, in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Justice.

CPOs are tasked with carrying out several essential administrative and other functions to ensure smooth and efficient progression of the trial process.

Director of the JRIU, Althea McBean, underlined the importance of the training sessions in bringing about improvements in the system.

She noted that during the workshop, officers expressed their concerns and made requests for additional resources and equipment.

Ms. McBean said a commitment was made to address the needs of the CPOs and make representation on their behalf for additional resources.

The workshop was also used to finalise and discuss in detail the Case Progression Manual, which provides standardised procedures to streamline practices for the post.

The JRIU Director, in explaining the critical nature of the CPOs’ work, said they ensure that the orders made by the judges in court are complied with.

“So, they will follow up with the relevant parties in a case, whether it is the police officer, the defence attorney, prosecutor or Crown counsel, to ensure that when the judge makes an order, it is complied with by the relevant date. They also ensure that the relevant documents are served,” she said.

Ms. McBean said the officers also follow up to obtain third-party reports for trial, such as ballistic certificates, forensic reports, DNA reports, medical and postmortem reports as well as crime scene documentation and call data.

“These are some reasons matters are usually adjourned, so with these officers (ensuring) documents are on the file, so cases can be ready, the efficiency and flow of cases in the courts should be increased,” she pointed out.

She further noted that with the launch of the Case Management Statistical System, information will be more readily available for CPOs to access the facts of each case.

The system provides an accurate status of court cases and allows the Government, the court management and the Chief Justice to allocate resources accordingly.