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Davis: Courts need to step up

PM says speedier trials require judges taking control of their courts

Prime Minister Philip Davis yesterday called on the courts to “step up” regarding hearing murder cases and pleaded with Bahamians to stop “making excuses” to get out of jury duty.

Davis was asked about the recent spate of murders involving people on bail and what his administration intends to do to address the matter.

Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe said yesterday that of the 65 murders for the year, 30 of the victims were on bail.

During a press conference at Lynden Pindling International Airport, Davis said, “I am not one to take any glee in the fact that the person who may have been killed was known to police or is on bail. All lives are important to me.

“It is a multifaceted situation. The courts have to pay more attention to persons who are going to be out on bail. The courts have to take control, I think, of their trials, so that people could have trials. I mean the backlog of cases is just astronomical and it’s almost nearing the brink of collapse.

“So, the courts have to step up and they need to hear these cases.

“The community, Bahamians, have to appreciate as well that in the administration of justice, they have a very critical role to play and that is when called upon to be jurors, they have to step up to be jurors and not give excuses. If you don’t have jurors to hear the cases, the cases are not going to be tried.”

The prime minister said cooperation from all facets of society is necessary to ensure that cases finish quickly.

“What is astounding to me, in my heyday of practicing law, I used to do murder cases in three days,” he said.

“If a murder trial takes a week, that’s a long time. Trials for murders are now taking a month or two months. I still can’t understand why trials take so long.

“That requires judges taking control of their court and controlling their court.

“At the end of the day, they need to get the cases done, finished, and if there is anyone that is aggrieved by any decision, there is another level to go to. That other level is a bit more efficient than the lower level. It’s a very vexing issue.

“I know that tomorrow I am going to Cabinet to raise an issue in respect to our national security vision and decide how we deal with this.”

Davis said the government is looking to put more resources in preventative measures, stop the level of recidivism that is occurring, and “redeem our young men and women”.

The prime minister spoke with reporters on several national issues upon landing in the country from attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda.

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Travis Cartwright-Carroll

Travis Cartwright-Carroll is the assistant editor. He covers a wide range of national issues. He joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a copy editor before shifting to reporting. He was promoted to assistant news editor in December 2018.

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