JIS News

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  • Jamaica will host its first Witness Care Conference from July 19 to 20, which will seek to address the stigma surrounding witness care in the island, and to encourage greater participation of witnesses in court.
  • “The ultimate goal of the conference is to highlight for persons the facilities that are currently in place to make the process of participating in court proceedings secure and easy,” Programme Manager for the Justice Undertakings for Social Transformation (JUST) Programme, Tania Chambers, told JIS News.
  • Ms. Chambers said that when persons have a clear understanding of how courts function, they are better prepared to participate in court processes as either witnesses or jurors, and that witness care involves several processes, including the facilitation, support and protection of witnesses.

Jamaica will host its first Witness Care Conference from July 19 to 20, which will seek to address the stigma surrounding witness care in the island, and to encourage greater participation of witnesses in court.

“The ultimate goal of the conference is to highlight for persons the facilities that are currently in place to make the process of participating in court proceedings secure and easy,” Programme Manager for the Justice Undertakings for Social Transformation (JUST) Programme, Tania Chambers, told JIS News.

Ms. Chambers said that when persons have a clear understanding of how courts function, they are better prepared to participate in court processes as either witnesses or jurors, and that witness care involves several processes, including the facilitation, support and protection of witnesses.

“The conference came about through wide discussions on justice reform at the institutional level, such as the courts and the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions. It will also provide an opportunity for State entities to collaboratively look at how the process of witness care in Jamaica can be improved and current gaps addressed,” she said.

Ms. Chambers noted that key speakers for the two-day conference will include: Director of Public Prosecutions, Paula Llewellyn; Canadian Jurist, Hon. Douglas R. Campbell; Trinidad and Tobago Child Court Administrator, Carlene Cross, and Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon Harrison.

“The second day of the conference will facilitate a Practitioner’s Workshop, as we have several organisers, both private and public, which are engaged in the types of processes that we want to see developed in our Jamaican justice system under the rubric of witness care. The outcome of their deliberations on strategies for Jamaica will be compiled by the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) in a research, policy and strategy document,” Ms. Chamber pointed out.

The conference will be held at the University of the West Indies Faculty of Law and is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with funding from Global Affairs Canada.