Acting Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry may have her hands full. She is to preside over hundreds of pending cases that are returning to her court due to the buildup of criminal matters.
Currently the court is tasked with clearing the system of the numerous pending matters that are to some extent slowing up the justice process. From all indications the various magistrates have set out to clear their agendas of the pending criminal matters within a given time period.
At least five matters before the Acting Chief Magistrate were dismissed recently after the prosecution was not in a position to commence or conclude the matters.
Some of these matters had been booked since at the beginning of the year and persons have been in custody since then.
In some cases the police failed to produce statements, witnesses and other forms of evidence.
One after the other, accused persons were told that they were free to go as the expected evidence in their matters could not be produced by prosecutors.
The dismissals were greeted with loud chants of “freedom, freedom” as the men were taken back to the holding area to be booked out of their detention.
Some detainees were not as fortunate as the others as the magistrate told them that their matters had not even begun and it was just her duty at this time to provide a date for trial so that their cases could be heard.
In some instances prisoners relayed that they had been locked up for months and some for more than a year. They were told that their matters would be heard shortly and they were given their new court dates.
In other matters the court did not entertain any new matters that would have wasted valuable court time. Such matters were dismissed immediately as virtual complainants did not show up at the hearing. These matters included threatening language, threatening behaviour and abusive language.
It is under stood that Court Five, which presides mainly over gun, ammunition, narcotics and robbery under arms matters, is overwhelmed since there has been an increase in such offences over the years.
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