AG not happy with courts
Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite is not pleased with the way things are going with the island’s seat of justice.
“No. I’m not happy about the way things are going on in the courts,” Brathwaite said while acknowledging the complaints from the Bar Association and private citizens caught in the snail’s pace of the court and the public in general.
He is proposing electronic monitoring for accused persons, utilising technology, including the long promised video-taping of confessions and desperately needed training to bring efficiency to the judicial system.
The courts have been taking a battering over the years for constant adjournments leading to the lengthy time it takes for cases to be heard. Some cases, both criminal and civil, have taken years to be resolved and some accused people end up on remand for years before trial; all of these were of concern to the Attorney General.
Brathwaite commented on the matter as he addressed the Editors’ Forum of the Editorial Department at the Nation Publishing Company on Wednesday.
The situation had become so critical that Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson had implemented a system to toss out some cases in the system since the 1990s.
Brathwaite conceded that part of the problem was that the move to the new Supreme Court Complex had been done without the requisite training for the staff. Staff moved into the Barbados Supreme Court Complex in 2009.
“We tried to run a parallel system and got it wrong and have managed neither of them correctly – I’m talking about the High Court in particular,” he said.
That stemmed from a chronic problem within the public sector where, unlike the private sector, which hired based on required skills, Government did not, explained Brathwaite.
“There are some Government departments where we just don’t have the right people and Government doesn’t allow you to uproot them and place them someplace else. That is why it is taking longer to get it right,” the minister revealed.
He itemised a number of other areas that have contributed to clogging of the legal system both at the High Court and the Magistrates’ Court level.
“I believe they take too long between the initial charging and actually leading evidence and this has led to some charges being dismissed. We are addressing that in terms of training and file management, [and] technology has been able to assist,” said Brathwaite.