Chuck describes prolonged courtroom instances as ‘tragedy’ and ‘injustice’

Justice Minister Delroy Chuck has described as a “tragedy” and “injustice”, instances earlier than the island’s courts that final past a yr and run as much as 20 years earlier than they’re accomplished.

If there may be not a major discount relative to the turnaround time for the disposal of instances, Chuck says residents will “not find peace”.

His feedback got here towards the background of the latest acquittal of former Police Constable Lescene Edwards who was convicted of the homicide of his girlfriend, Aldonna Harris-Vasquez, which was dedicated on September 5, 2003.

Harris-Vasquez’s physique was discovered with a single gunshot wound to the top at her residence, together with a suicide word.

Despite the word being discovered, Edwards was charged with the homicide, and it was left as much as the jury to resolve whether or not the previous cop had shot the girl or the wound was self-inflicted.

The trial was delayed for 10 years, and concluded with Edwards’ conviction in 2013.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a stipulation that he ought to serve a minimal of 35 years earlier than turning into eligible for parole consideration.

But following hearings within the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in February of this yr, the courtroom decided that, “There is simply no satisfactory explanation of how the defendant could have managed to murder the deceased in the very confined space of the bathroom, then move the body, open the door and appear a very short time afterwards in the living room without any blood being seen on him or his clothes, and without any bloodstains or bloodied footprints being found anywhere outside the bathroom.”

Speaking on the opening of the Greenwich Town Restorative Justice Centre in St Andrew on Friday, Chuck used the case to focus on that delays within the listening to of instances may end up in residents being unable to search out peace.

“People are finding out that the courts are not easily accessible and justice easily obtained, and one of the main reason is that when they go to court they don’t understand the procedure, and moreover, even when they get their case to the court, it takes forever,” the justice minister acknowledged.

“It is a tragedy in our courts that a matter should take five, 10, and one that came back from the Privy Council recently, almost 20 years.

“That’s not justice! I daresay, when any matter in any courtroom lasts longer than a yr, you are getting injustice, as a result of as they are saying, justice delayed is justice denied,” declared Chuck.

“Unless we will discover methods and means the place the folks of this nation can simply entry applicable methods and means to get justice, we is not going to discover peace, and peace is so essential,” he added.

To that end, the minister indicated that the Ministry of Justice is “campaigning and on a mission” to “be sure that folks can’t solely entry justice, however can, in reality, get justice of their lives.”

The ministry’s new different dispute decision (ADR) programme is geared in direction of helping in that effort, Chuck indicated.

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