Au­dio­vi­sual tech­nol­ogy for courts

The Star (Jamaica) - - FRONT PAGE -

Jus­tice Min­is­ter Del­roy Chuck has re­vealed that by 2017, more than 70 courts and seven hear­ing rooms will be retro­fit­ted with au­dio­vi­sual tech­nol­ogy to as­sist judges with more timely judg­ments.

Chuck stated that with this new tech­nol­ogy, judges will no longer have to take notes ‘long­hand’, but will have more ef­fi­cient record­ing and re­trieval ca­pa­bil­ity. The au­dio­vi­sual sys­tem will be able to cap­ture and digi­tise tes­ti­monies and pro­ceed­ings of the court.

The min­is­ter was speak­ing at a sen­si­ti­sa­tion ses­sion held at its Kingston of­fice re­cently. Min­is­ter Chuck also told the gath­er­ing that 85 com­put­ers have been ac­quired, which will be rolled out across the courts. These will help in the timely dis­posal of cases.

CORRUPTED CASES

Chuck high­lighted the neg­a­tive ef­fects brought about by de­lays in the trial process. He ar­gued that when cases are drawn out they get corrupted; files go miss­ing, and wit­nesses are in­tim­i­dated or bribed. A speed­ier trial would limit the like­li­hood of this tak­ing place.

He drew ref­er­ence to de­vel­oped coun­tries, such as the United States, that pre­pare their cases for trial within 79 days. He be­lieved that this is a bench­mark that is at­tain­able.

In ad­di­tion to the new equip­ment and in­fras­truc­tural work to be done on court­houses as part of the mod­erni­sa­tion of the jus­tice sec­tor, there is also nec­es­sary leg­isla­tive frame­work to ease the bur­den on the court sys­tem, such as the new Ar­bi­tra­tion Act to be tabled in Par­lia­ment soon, the Amend­ments to the Crim­i­nal Jus­tice ( Plea Ne­go­ti­a­tions and Agree­ment) Act, and the Restora­tive Jus­tice Bill.

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