(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) Almost bisected of the criminal backlog cases in this country’s High Courts accept been pending for added than 15 years. At atomic 52 of the accused died while waiting for their matters to be completed.
These figures were revealed in the Judiciary’s 2017-2018 annual report as a result of a review of the backlog of cases by the Cloister Performance Reporting and Management initiative. There were 709 cases in the backlog inventory at the Assizes at the end of aftermost year. Of that figure, 352 cases or 49.6 per cent were pending for added than 15 years.
The review was aimed at “rationalising old cases on the Judiciary’s system in order to the numerical admeasurement and nature of the backlog.” The definition acclimated by the Judiciary for criminal backlog cases was “all indictments filed before October 31, 2012 and yet to be tried”.
As at the end of 2017, there were 1,480 such cases.
A committee chaired by Justice Gillian Lucky was established to examine the annal and accomplish recommendations on the way forward in the High Court.
The committee begin that 715 of the 1,480 cases listed were actually matters that were finished but not disposed of in the system. This was accounted a data entry backlog and corrected.
“In addressing the backlog of matters in the criminal jurisdiction, both at the Magistrates’ and High Courts, the implementation of the criminal procedure rules has resulted in a significant increase in matters accessible for trial. The challenge remains that while cases are accessible to be heard, there is an insufficient number of judicial officers to determine the matters,” the annual report stated.
“While the issue of the increase in the complement of judicial officers is addressed, there were other avenues that were explored to ysis the action required for reform.”
One such initiative was the reintroduction of the Fast Track Cloister which operated as a pilot activity during the six-week-long vacation of the High Court. In all, 12 matters were disposed of off during that period between August 1 to September 12.
Another initiative that was taken to try and bright the criminal backlog was the introduction of Status Hearings for those persons on remand who are awaiting trial and who ambition to either appeal accusable or commence Maximum Sentence Indication (MSI) proceedings.
One hundred and fifty-five persons, including 94 murder accused, went before the cloister as a result of this.
“The Status Hearings are ongoing and back the indictments in the matters are filed, the cases will be distributed amid and heard by the judicial officers of the High Court,” the annual report stated.
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