Attorney General Ryan Pinder, QC, yesterday promised more manpower for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to help deal with criminal cases.
Pinder was speaking at the ceremony to mark the opening of the Legal Year, which, for the first time, was held virtually in response to an increase of COVID-19 infections in the country.
Pinder said, “There is a need to ensure more prosecutors are available for trial and to efficiently and effectively present cases in a swift and complete manner.
“In order to address this, an internal reorganization of attorneys in the office is underway to ensure a complete complement of attorneys at every level of seniority to ensure not only there are enough prosecutors to personally handle trials but also to ensure there are enough junior practitioners to assist with the preparation of trials.”
Recognizing delays in obtaining evidence hampers trials from being heard within a reasonable time, Pinder acknowledged that the executive “must do a better job at providing the framework and infrastructure for obtaining ballistic reports, forensic reports and provide an avenue for providing reliable DNA evidence”.
Additionally, he said pathologists’ reports, which sometimes take up to a year to prepare, need to be available sooner. He said that the executive would work along with the Ministry of Health to ensure that this happens.
He said, “We need to improve on the collection, handling and evaluation of evidence to contribute to the efficient administration of justice.”
Pinder also promised legislative reforms that would enhance the administration of justice.
These include the Court Services Bill, which will give the judiciary full control over its finances; legislative reforms for the Juvenile Court; and an amendment to the Evidence Act to promote remote trials.
Regarding civil cases, Pinder said judges needed to deliver judgments in a timely manner, as “any other approach will lead to a loss of public and business confidence in our judicial system”.
However, he was quick to add that attorneys need to be on board by ensuring that they were properly prepared for hearings.
Pinder said that he was working to identify locations for specialist courts, such as the Juvenile Court, Family Court, Sexual Offenses Court and Commercial Court.