JIS News

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  • The Court Administration Division (CAD) is restricting access to court facilities as part of measures to contain the risk of transmission of the coronavirus (Covid-19).    
  • “The Registrar at the Court of Appeal will make contact with the attorneys and work through logistics to facilitate that. Also for the Court of Appeal, all open court matters will proceed as scheduled, however, only those persons scheduled to attend must be inside the building,” Ms. Fletcher explained.
  • Members of staff are being advised to adhere to the safety measures outlined by the CAD while interacting with members of the public and co-workers.

The Court Administration Division (CAD) is restricting access to court facilities as part of measures to contain the risk of transmission of the coronavirus (Covid-19).    

Courts across the island closed at 1:00 pm on Friday (March 13) and will reopen on Monday (March 16) for essential persons.

“Courts will progress as scheduled come Monday, however only essential persons will be allowed in courts,” Acting Director of Communication at the CAD, Kadiesh Fletcher, told JIS News.

“Non-essential persons will not be allowed on the court buildings. We are also saying to members of the public, if you are demonstrating flu-like symptoms, we are asking you not to come to the court office.

“If you have a matter you can call and speak with the court administrator or you can speak with the clerk of court. If you are coming to court just to observe, we are now saying to persons that matters that are usually open to the public, will now only be open to persons needed for the matter and the media,” Ms. Fletcher added.

The decision follows a meeting on Friday, involving Chief Justice Bryan Sykes and representatives from the Disaster Response Committee, Jamaican Bar Association, Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Department of Correctional Services (DCS).

“One of the decisions coming out of that meeting was that all jury trials currently underway are to be completed in the shortest possible time,” Ms. Fletcher told JIS News

“We are asking all our judges to complete their jury trials no later than Friday (March 20).  No new jury trials are to begin in the next 14 days, unless the matter can be completed by (that date). This will be reassessed after the 14-day period and then we will provide another update,” she said.

In the event that some defendants do not present themselves for court, a warrant is to be issued and execution stayed for up to five months.

Ms. Fletcher said given the fluid nature of the situation, updates will be provided where necessary to the public to indicate changes.

Meanwhile, for the Court of Appeal, beginning Monday, all in-chamber hearings will be done by telephone.

“The Registrar at the Court of Appeal will make contact with the attorneys and work through logistics to facilitate that. Also for the Court of Appeal, all open court matters will proceed as scheduled, however, only those persons scheduled to attend must be inside the building,” Ms. Fletcher explained.

Persons going to court are being asked to take their own pens to sign documents and to sanitise their hands before entering the court building and before entering the courtroom. Sanitisers will be provided in close proximity to high-touch areas in the courts.

The CAD will continue its covid-19 sensitisation sessions in courts next week.

Discussions are also ongoing with the JCF and the DCS with the intention of facilitating bail and case management hearings electronically.

Members of staff are being advised to adhere to the safety measures outlined by the CAD while interacting with members of the public and co-workers.

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