The Justice Minister Delroy Chuck revealed that by 2017, over 70 courts and seven hearing rooms will be retrofitted with audiovisual technology to assist judges with more timely judgments. Chuck stated that with this new technology, judges will no longer have to take notes ‘longhand’ but will have more efficient recording and retrieval capability. The audiovisual system will be able to capture and digitize testimonies and proceedings of the court.
The Minister was speaking at a sensitization session held at the Ministry of Justice in Kingston recently. Minister Chuck also told the gathering that eighty-five (85) computers have been acquired which will be rolled out across the courts. These will help in the timely disposal of cases.
Delays Give Rise to Corruption in Cases
The Justice Minister highlighted the negative effects brought about by delays in the trial process. He argued that when cases are drawn out they get corrupted; files go missing and witnesses are intimidated or bribed. A speedier trial would limit the likelihood of this taking place. He drew reference to developed countries, such as the United States that prepare their cases for trial within 79 days. He believed that this is a benchmark that is attainable.
In addition to the new equipment and infrastructural work to be done on court houses as part of the modernization of the justice sector, there is also necessary legislative framework to ease the burden on the court system such as the new Arbitration Act to be tabled in Parliament soon, the Amendments to the Criminal Justice (Plea Negotiations and Agreement) Act and the Restorative Justice Bill.