A startling one hundred matters are listed for the October Criminal Assizes, but Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Christopher Nelson is not perturbed over the number.
In an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY Newspaper at the commencement of the Continuous Assizes on Tuesday, DPP Nelson indicated that although the list is significant at around the same period of time last year there was a similar number of cases on the Cause List.
The list went down slightly during the May Criminal Assizes into the eighties.
In providing this newspaper with an overview of the cases. DPP Nelson
said there are a significant number of cases relating to homicide, grievous harm, sexual offenses, property crimes that include housebreaking, and stealing.
The Chief State Prosecutor observed that there is a lot of work to be done in the current sitting of the high court.
“We’re endeavouring, during the assizes to see how effectively, without compromising justice, we can get rid of as many matters as possible”, he said.
DPP Nelson is confident that with both Criminal High Courts being operational many matters could be heard.
He said that in conjunction with the Supreme Court, his office will be shortlisting matters but priority will be given to persons on remand, as well as the older matters on the list.
According to him, there are a few matters that go back to 2009.
“The objective is to not have matters hanging on the list too long. A criminal trial should be completed, ideally, from arrest to trial in the High Court within a year to a year and a half, but because of the numbers it is difficult to accomplish that, but we are trying to balance old matters and persons who are in custody,” he quipped.
DPP Nelson expressed satisfaction over the cooperation of the Private Bar, which, he said is critical in expediting matters.
He indicated, though there are lawyers who are alone in their practice and would have busy schedules having to be present at several courts at the same time in looking after the interest of their clients, but his Office is working with them to see how they can have matters heard quickly.