#Jamaica, May 10, 2018 – Kingston – Justice Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck, says live streaming of select criminal and civil court cases to the public is being contemplated, in a bid to make the judicial system more transparent, while enhancing its accountability. He informed that discussions are underway with Chief Justice, Hon. Bryan Sykes; Acting Court of Appeal President, Hon. Dennis Morrison, and several parish judges islandwide in furtherance of this consideration.
“This (accountability) must exist in the courts (so) that they function efficiently and that people can see how justice is being delivered,” the Minister said.
He was speaking at Friday’s (May 4) opening of the Port Maria Justice Centre in St. Mary, which will offer several alternative dispute resolution services. These include restorative justice, child diversion and mediation.
Mr. Chuck said live streaming will enable more persons to see what obtains in trial proceedings in the matters for which this facility would be used, as against to persons being in courtrooms which, he argued, offers limited access.
The Minister said persons could log onto the designated website to gain access to the proceedings, noting that a similar arrangement “(is already) taking place at the (United Kingdom) Privy Council (level) and in other courts across the world”.
Meanwhile, Mr. Chuck advised that there are plans to equip justice centres with free Wi-Fi, “so that persons can have access to the Ministry of Justice website to see some of the services being offered”.
He stressed the need for more speedy delivery of justice through the courts, noting that cases must be dispensed of within three to six months rather than being prolonged for protracted periods.
Mr. Chuck also reiterated the call for greater trust and confidence between the police and citizens, citing these as “essential in the fight against crime”.
In his remarks, Port Maria Mayor, Councillor Richard Creary, welcomed the justice centre’s establishment in the town, noting that the Minister is doing “ a fabulous job in, not only providing such facilities, but (also) additional resources to the courts”.
South East St. Mary Member of Parliament, Dr. Norman Dunn, echoed the Mayor’s sentiments and noted that the centre will be an important conduit for accessing information on justice related services and conflict resolution.
Central St. Mary Member of Parliament, Dr. Morais Guy, commended the Minister on “the new paradigm shift in the way justice is being (administered)”.
The Port Maria Justice Centre is the fifth to be established, following the opening of facilities in St. Ann; Buff Bay, Portland; Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland; and Trelawny.
Centres are also expected to be opened in St. Andrew; Mandeville, Manchester; Santa Cruz, St. Elizabeth; St. James; and St. Thomas.