Courts idle despite bottleneck of criminal cases

| 30/08/2012

(CNS): Although criminal trials are backed up into the middle of next year, two Grand Court rooms remained empty this week after scheduled trials for serious offences failed to go ahead. In one trial, as reported earlier this week by CNS, the lead police officer in the case against Robert Crawford for possession of an unlicensed firearm notified the parties at the eleventh hour that she would not be on the island, forcing an adjournment to October; and in the second case the crown revealed on Monday morning that it would not be proceeding with its case against Kurt Carter, who was also accused of possession of an unlicensed firearm.

Peter Polack, a local attorney who has been outspoken about the inefficiencies of both the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the RCIPS in the past, described the situation this week as “an incredible waste of precious court resources”, with the criminal courts at a standstill for an entire week.

“Two Grand Court judges now sit idle in an atmosphere where congestion in the Grand Courts has peaked, thanks to the AG’s grand idea to move the Summary Court bottlenecks to the Grand Court by removing the preliminary inquiry,” Polack said, noting that the changes introduced by the attorney general were made with out the necessary support of the long overdue new Grand Court building, additional Grand Court judges or a streamlined and efficient DPP or RCIPS. "Grand Court trials are now being set next year due to the backlog of matters,” he said.

Carter’s case is another in a long line of firearms offences over the last few years that have gone through the courts only to be dropped owing to a lack of evidence. In many cases this is down to crown witnesses refusing to testify once the matter reaches the courts, as was the case on Monday.

The 22-year-old  was arrested following an incident on Hirst Road in Savannah in January when Sean Dunbar was reportedly shot. Charged with attempted murder and possession of an unlicensed firearm, the charge was later reduced to unlawful wounding. However, without the complainant the crown’s case fell apart.

With no back-up trial scheduled, both Court Five and Court One, where Crawford should have been facing trial, were left quiet this week.

Related article:

Lead cop warned by judge to attend trial

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  1. Truth says:

    Isn't this normal for a third world country?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well done Peter Pollack for placing the blame where it lies.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Throughout the world there is a misunderstanding.


    Most people think that the legal system is the justice system.


    Wrong! Often, the legal system is the source of gross injustice.


    I had a friend who got caught up in the legal system. He would show up at court, one of the lawyers was unprepared so the case was "rescheduled". This happened several times and he had to pay his lawyer for each appearance. The judges should read the riot act to unprepared lawyers. Currently there are no sactions for lawyers who show up at court unprepared.


    (Ahh, but the wigs are snowy white with fresh powder and the gowns are crisp and pressed,…the important stuff is taken care of.)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Time to start sentencing the complainants, when they shirk their responsibility to the country.  No time to complain when you are six feet.

  5. the truth says:

    When will the Legal Department be held accountable for there consistent waste of precious time and resources. perhaps it is them who should be on trial for a change. But as most of you all may notice, they sit quiety in their guarded fortresses un intrigued by what " john public" has to say. They have been there for YEARS and have failed miserably. In any other democratic society they would have been summoned before a commitee and kicked out for such an unsatisfactory grade. I will also go as far as to say that alot of Judges are feeling pressured by "john public" to make up for the Legal Departments horrible sense of judgement ( this can be very dangerous) when they know within themselves that some cases before them should never have gotten there to begin with. If you dont have a winable case "Legal Department" why proceed and continue to cause yourself embarrassment in the public arena. The next government that wins the election should have it as TOP TOP priority to "cleanse" the legal department and replace them with individuals of solid judgement, sound thinking and expertise. Maybe then the government can get some value for its money.

    • Anonymous says:

      You mean Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, NOT the Legal Department.