No stenographer delays gun court trials
The Gun Court could not hear trials for two days last week because no stenographer was available to record the proceedings, The Nassau Guardian can reveal.
Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt was appointed to head the specialist court, which was reestablished in March, to deal expeditiously with firearms-related offenses. She was unable to carry out her mandate as a result of the stenographer’s absence, who The Guardian understands reported sick on last week Thursday.
Guns are the weapons of choice in the vast majority of murders and armed robberies, according to police.
The Guardian understands that all trials, with the exception of one originating from Harbour Island, were adjourned as a result. According to sources, Magistrate-Pratt convinced another stenographer to sit in as public funds had been expended for witnesses to attend the trial.
On Friday, Ferguson-Pratt was again forced to adjourn her trials because she had no stenographer. Before adjourning the matters, she said, “It is unfortunate that we cannot proceed because of a lack of a stenographer. I am here ready to work, but I cannot and will not proceed with trials without a stenographer.”
Ferguson-Pratt, however, did deal with arraignments and bail applications.
Ferguson-Pratt has taken a strong stance against adjournments, which contribute to the backlog, and she has concluded more than 80 matters since the court’s inception.