Out spoken Attorney-at-Law Anslem Clouden holds the view that both the civil and criminal High Courts should be housed at the newly refurbished LIME Building on The Carenage in St. George’s.
In an interview with THE NEW TODAY newspaper, Registrar of the Supreme Court, Attorney-at-law, Lisa Telesford announced that plans are in the making to exchange the location of High Court No. 1 with a civil court at the LIME building, noting that the building could only facilitate 4 courtrooms at present.
However, Attorney Clouden told reporters last week Thursday that there is enough space in the building to accommodate an additional courtroom and suggested that instead of switching the courts, Government should consider renovating one of the other rooms at the LIME building so that all the High Courts can be at the same location.
Speaking on the issue leading to a delay in trial matters at the No. 1 High Court due to what was dubbed “the inappropriate preparation of the jury room,” Attorney Clouden noted that “notwithstanding efforts made (by lawyers and judges, among others),” the authorities waited (until) “the ninety-ninth hour to do certain renovations,” which they knew had to be done “since the last assizes.”
Approximately two weeks ago, Justice Shiraz Aziz, the judge presiding over the No. 1 High Court, was forced to discharge a jury and abort a trial following complaints from Jurors about a strange smell emitting from the Juror’s room that caused them to feel nauseous.
According to Clouden the authorities “waited until a week ago to paint the (Jury) room and prepare it for facilitating high court matters.
“…Jurors cannot sit in a room where there is the emission of deleterious fumes or otherwise toxic fumes from the paint – they are going to get sick”, he remarked.
Clouden lamented the fact that there are “100 plus cases listed for trial during this assizes at the No. 1 High Court, and “the judge is ready to go, lawyers are ready to go, jurors are ready to go but the Jury room is not prepared” but the people’s business cannot be conducted in the law courts.
“Litigants, defendants and accused persons have to await their trial – that will take some considerable time… and those who are in charge have not discharged their responsibility in getting the Jury room prepared in a timely manner,” he said.
“I don’t know why they didn’t move it (High Court No. 1) (to the LIME Building). This is an appropriate location…these facilities are as good as you would find anywhere,” he added.
Clouden also commended the efforts of Attorney-General Cajeton Hood in getting the Lime facility up and running.
“All the courts are supposed to be here – both Criminal and Civil courts ought to be in this building. It creates greater convenience, accessibility and the like,” he said.