Renewed effort to clear backlog in court cases

Concerned that just over 50 per cent of the more than 900-strong prison population is people on remand, Government is making another effort to clear the backlog in court cases.

Today the Government in association with the National Centre for State Courts and the US Department of State, introduced a special two-day workshop where members of the local judiciary will be able to get a better understanding of the Goodyear Hearings/Maximum Sentence Indications and Plea Agreements.

It is hoped that this will result in justice being administered by early and timely disposition of cases through more efficient and effective practices, while at the same time ensuring fairness and transparency.

Goodyear Hearings/Maximum Sentence Indications and Plea Agreement allows for the defendants to enter a guilty plea with the defence requesting an indication of the likely maximum sentence.

During the opening ceremony of the workshop at the Radisson Aquatica Resort this morning, Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson again lamented the backlog in criminal cases.

“One of the solutions which is being proposed is the basis of this workshop, the idea of affording the opportunity to accept a guilty plea. The problem is, of course, it is not that simple, there are rules and procedures which have to be followed to ensure that the guilty plea will withstand appellate scrutiny, and there are all sorts of areas in which one can make a mistake,” he said.

“I want to think of this as a solution-oriented two-day workshop. I think we tend to put ourselves in a bit of a bind when we are problem-solving, but I want to start on the solution end because we know what the problem is. The problem is that we have got too many people on remand and at a prison that has been constructed to hold 1,200 people,” he added.

Attorney General Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite said at the beginning of this year the late Director of Public Prosecution Charles Leacock instructed his office to urgently undertake a number of things in an effort to reduce the worrying backlog of cases in the criminal justice system.

Brathwaite described the workshop as a critical component of the measures being undertaken to assist in arresting that issue, adding that so far a number of steps have been taken and more are on the way.

“We have a situation where more than 50 per cent of the persons at [Her Majesty’s Prison] Dodds are presently on remand. If there are 900 [prisoners] there are probably about 500 of them on remand. It is not a tidy situation at all. Charles was convinced that many of those individuals on remand if afforded the opportunity, would actually accept some kind of a plea. In that regard, I have therefore set about taking a paper to Cabinet and have indeed, a draft Bill somewhere in my office. The Bill was influenced a lot by the Trinidad and Tobago legislation,” explained Braithwaite.

Pointing out that he was aware that the judges, prosecutors and lawyers would require continuous training, Brathwaite gave the assurance that Government and members of the judiciary were eager to “address this burning issue of the backlog in the criminal justice system”.

He reported that the abolishment of preliminary enquires was already accomplished, adding that work was currently being carried out to ensure the recording of interviews was mandatory.

“We are going to move ahead with the practice direction . . . and I think the other box that we need to tick is that we need to have some criminal procedure rules,” he said, pointing out that some models were currently being examined.

Brathwaite said the number of judges would also be increased soon, given that “the number of cases we have in the criminal justice system, the present number of judges just cannot get it done”.

“So, we need to have some additional resources in that regard. Even with continuous exercises, the numbers are telling you that the present number of judges, with the best will in the world, unless they are able to work 24-hours a day, that we need some additional resources in that regard,” added Brathwaite.

US Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Linda Taglialatela highlighted the need for the continued strengthening of the judicial system, saying it was necessary to ensure the security of residents in the region.

She said she hoped at the end of the workshop Barbados would be able to realize a reduction in case backlogs, a reduction in trauma suffered by victims of crime, a reduction in anxiety suffered by defendants and savings in cost of valuable resources.

31 Responses to Renewed effort to clear backlog in court cases

  1. Steven Layne
    Steven Layne November 4, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    You’ll don’t have to do it, it’s your all civil duty to.

  2. Steven Layne
    Steven Layne November 4, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Real bad boys ,make you cry for mercy, need real decent people to fill void.

  3. Wendy Knight
    Wendy Knight November 4, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Say something that I have not already heard

  4. Horace Boyce
    Horace Boyce November 4, 2017 at 2:55 pm


  5. Valarie Rock
    Valarie Rock November 4, 2017 at 4:29 pm


    • Valarie Rock
      Valarie Rock November 4, 2017 at 4:31 pm

      How much o them workshops they had already?

  6. Keith Forde
    Keith Forde November 4, 2017 at 5:27 pm


    • Keith Forde
      Keith Forde November 5, 2017 at 4:44 am


  7. Sheldon Cox
    Sheldon Cox November 4, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Blah blah blah

  8. Ãmen Hotep
    Ãmen Hotep November 4, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    This Renewed Effort Has for too long Now been A thing of the past time!

  9. Mhizz Kelly P Forde
    Mhizz Kelly P Forde November 4, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    This MUMFORD the magician

  10. fedup November 4, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Since dee retired Aussie judges change duh mine bout helping out and dee High Commission leff bout hey, wunnah scrambling. Uh glad as azz!

  11. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba November 4, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    how long, how long u have been saying so? sheep justice…what ah bunch ah sloths

  12. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba November 4, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    you see what u did for john annel, do for the rest and they won’t be no back log all 900 plus will be out on bail for good..wicked evil demons

  13. Tone Watts
    Tone Watts November 4, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    I wish you luck. lol

  14. Stclair Worrell
    Stclair Worrell November 4, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    This Judge is the spitting image of Freundel Stuart…. Ah wonder if dem is family??… How many times have we heard that??… Everything seems to be in the works for the nex five or six months… Wish wunna luck..

    • Ali Baba
      Ali Baba November 5, 2017 at 12:46 am

      st clair u ain’t know i was going to say the look like brothers, fa real

  15. Pullhead Davis
    Pullhead Davis November 4, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    Wonder if any of these cases that going me speeded up will be cases with Flo lawyers

  16. Milli Watt November 4, 2017 at 10:56 pm


  17. tony November 5, 2017 at 12:07 am

    I wonder if they know or heard about former Magistrate Carlisle Greaves who has apparently done great work with court backlogs in Cayman islands and in Bermuda. And he is Bajan, you know.

  18. tony November 5, 2017 at 1:18 am

    Has any of those people heard of or know former Magistrate Carlisle Greaves who has apparently done plenty of work in clearing court backlogs in Cayman and in Bermuda? And he is a Bajan, you know!

  19. straight talk November 5, 2017 at 1:58 am

    From thee time man became C J this all I does hear he talking bout . Nothing else

  20. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn November 5, 2017 at 4:20 am

    This is the same man that they change the laws for so that he could be working in Barbados. I thought that he said he is going to clean up the court system. What happened .The government will soon change and nothing ain’t happen YET. Just cheap talk

  21. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn November 5, 2017 at 4:23 am

    Who is better looking. The prime minister or the chief justice.

  22. Tony Webster November 5, 2017 at 6:45 am

    Onlies’ t’ing we yet ent tried ( or talk bout) to “clear de back-log” croton-oil. Ol’-time vet at Wildey, Mr. Lynton, wud administer a teaspoon to any horse dat bunged-up, and den tell my dad and his folks….”STAND BACK”. A cupple a minits later, EVATING would shoot out ‘cross de pen, and hit de wall!!!

    Hmmm…where do we get a gallon or two of croton oil in dese “modern” days? What….you nevah hear ’bout croton -oil? Mek dat a truck-load…cause a LOTTA uthuh folks ’bout here also need some.

  23. Kathie Daniel November 5, 2017 at 6:48 am

    Just do it already! Enact the legislation to use electronic media, and modern technology to speed up the process and just make it happen. I thought Mr Gibson had promised to do this years ago, so why the delay? Could it be that we have set the fox to watch the henhouse? Let all the lawyers be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century and quit denying/delaying justice at the taxpayers’ expense. Not only do we have people on remand for years, but we also have cases that cause people’s llives to be put on hold for years on end. Spinning top in mud is an aptly tragic description.

  24. Keith Forde
    Keith Forde November 5, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Whenever i hear these professionals does make my stomach sick

  25. Valerie Knight
    Valerie Knight November 5, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Mr Sinclair Worrell- I too have always felt that the Chief Justice and the PM bear striking similarity in features and must be related; no wonder they were so keen to appoint him above someone born and living in the country.

    • Belfast November 5, 2017 at 12:22 pm

      Striking similarities? that not how I hear others put it.


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