New Law Year opens; negotiations for High Court facilities not yet finalized

The Keith Mitchell-led government has located a building to house the High Court facilities on the island, according to acting Attorney General, Dr. Lawrence Joseph.

Some members of the legal fraternity making their way to the No. 1 High Court for the opening ceremony of the 2018/2019 Law Year

He made the announcement on Tuesday while addressing the opening ceremony of the new 2018-19 Law Year, during a special sitting of the court at the newly refurbished No. 1 High Court on St. John’s Street.

Dr. Joseph said that a building has been identified “with respect to housing all of the courts but some decisions on that have to be made in the very near future”.

The AG did not give any further details including the location of the building.

Speculation is rife that government is looking at South City plaza at Grand Anse which was built by imprisoned businessman, Finton DeBourg and is now under the direct control of a court-appointed Receiver.

Dr. Joseph who is expected to demit office in a matter of weeks, also informed the opening session of the court that the “measures (being) taken at this time (by the Keith Mitchell administration) are measures for the medium term (as) the ultimate goal of government is to have permanent location for the court.”

While the LIME building on The Carenage, St. George, was considered an adequate facility to house the courts, health issues due to radiation led to the closure of the court in May and the temporary relocation of some of them to the Mediation Centre on Scott Street, Grenada Trade Centre (GTC) at Grand Anse and the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office (CAIPO) building on Upper Lucas Street.

THE NEW TODAY understands that Guyana-born judge, Madam Justice Paula Gilford, who presided over criminal matters at the former No. 2 High Court, will preside over the No. 1 High Court on St. John’s Street, when the September Criminal Assizes opens next week Monday with a total of 148 cases on the Cause List.

Sources also said that Justice Raulston Glasgow, who presided over civil matters at the Mediation Centre will now hear matters at the CAIPO building.

No word has been forthcoming as it relates to the criminal High Court No. 5, which was presided over by Dominican-born judge, Justice Adrien Wynante-Roberts or the Civil No. 3 High Court, which was prior to the closure of the court, presided over by Montserratian-born Judge, Madam Justice Jean M. Dyer, who was on a 1-month stint which ended on May 31.

In addressing the opening ceremony of the New Law Year, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Christopher Nelson QC, commended the government for the work done to get High Court No. 1 in a suitable condition to house the special sitting.

In reflecting on the infrastructural challenges involving not only High Courts facilities but also the York House Annex, which is currently jointly occupied by the Supreme Court Registry and the DPP’s Chambers, Nelson QC said “it is a reflection that in Grenada today, the powers-that-be, neglect simple little things, fail to make a stitch in time… and have us forever going around in circles”.

“I sincerely hope that the 2018/2019 law term would see a break in that tradition,” he remarked.

According to the DPP, the 148 cases on the assizes list represents a “reduction” in matters compared to the 2017/2018 sitting which had 157 matters and the 2016/2017 list of 147 matters.

Sexual offences again continue to dominate the Cause List with a total of 67 matters.

There is a total of 26 homicides, with 16 of those being for murders.

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