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Fast track for juvenile criminal cases

COURT TODAY BLOCKMinors who are complainants in serious criminal matters should no longer have to wait for lengthy periods before their matters are heard by a judge and jury.

Director of Public Prosecutions Charles Leacock confirmed that he has asked the Royal Barbados Police Force to submit such matters which are still outstanding, so they could be done by Voluntary Bill, eliminating preliminary inquiries (PIs).

However, where PIs involving minors are already far advanced, they will go through to completion. Others which have not yet started or where only “one or two witnesses have been called,” will be fast-tracked, he said.

“I am prepared to give high priority to those cases because what we have found is that they languish in the system too long,” Leacock said.

However, the lead prosecutor also foresaw “bottle-necking” at the High Court, based on the fact that there are only two criminal courts sitting at any given time.

“We have 300 cases assigned to each Criminal Court. Two judges really can’t hear 600 cases.

“Take for example the Campus Trendz case which we just completed. That tied up one court for nearly three months, so backlog is inevitable in a situation like that,” Leacock concluded.    

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