From the Courts
December 28, 2012
52 per cent of cases dealt with by close of 2012 Assizes

Director of Public Prosecutions Colin Williams has described as “better than average” the rate at which matters were heard during the October Criminal Assizes.{{more}}

Speaking at the close of the assizes on December 19 at the High Court, Williams said 61 matters were listed for trial and eight for sentencing.

Five of the eight sentencing matters were completed.

Of the three sentencing matters, the DPP said, one had to be sent back to the Magistrate’s Court since it is no longer being pursuing in the High Court.

In another matter, the prosecution was awaiting a response to a statement filed. The defence was not ready for a hearing date to be scheduled.

The third sentencing matter has to be sent for another hearing, as directed by the Court of Appeal, Williams said.

Thirty-two of the 61 matters came up for trial.

The DPP indicated that judicial officers would have to go a “while back” to find any assizes where half that number of cases were completed.

He said that of the 23 oldest matters on the cause list, only five of them were dealt with.

Of that five, Williams said, four cases were taken off the list, the prosecution having discontinued those matters.

The DPP noted another 13 matters, nine of which, he said, went on for trial. Two of the cases did not reach the jury.

On page three of the cause list, 18 matters were listed and a total of 11 were completed. He said there were convictions in all matters on that page, except for one that was discontinued after complainant left the jurisdiction without informing the prosecution.

On page four, the DPP said, all seven matters were completed. One of those matters, he said, was discontinued because the complainant could no longer be found and another was stopped at the halfway stage.

Of the 17 matters that came onto the list for the first time, 15 were dealt with. The other two did not go to trial because, in one case, the psychiatric report that was requested was only made available to the prosecution on December 17.

Williams further said the other case involved someone who was unrepresented in a murder charge and application has to be made for counsel to be assigned.

Overall, 52 per cent of the cases at the assizes were dealt with, but the old cases had a disposal rate of 21 per cent.

However, the DPP said the other pages on the cause list showed that the other matters had been dealt with at a rate that was better than average.

Also at the close, brief remarks were delivered by judges Wesley James and Frederick Bruce-Lyle.

James, a Jamaican who has served in SVG for a year, will return in January for a seven-month stint.

President of the Bar Association Dr Linton Lewis, along with others, thanked the jurors and court staff for their time and efforts and wished everyone happy holidays. (KW)