Over the last two years, 2,080 case dockets have gone missing in the Magistrates’ Court located on East Demerara, West Demerara and Georgetown, a figure which has once again prompted recommendations for rectifications from Auditor General, Deodat Sharma.
As a matter of fact, in the Auditor General’s Report for 2013 shows that a whopping 1,238 case dockets were listed as misplaced for Criminal Cases alone from the Georgetown Magisterial District between 2012 and 2013.
The Report, which was made public after being laid in the National Assembly last week, revealed that the filing of affiliation, criminal and civil case dockets at the main Magisterial Districts continue to be disorganized with a number of case dockets being misplaced or misfiled at the different locations.
It was further stated that this was compounded by the fact that the register of case dockets did not contain information on the movement of the files.
In 2012, a total of 959 such dockets were listed as missing while 2013 recorded 1121.
Over the two year period, a total of 186 case dockets were misplaced in the East Demerara Magisterial District while in the West Demerara Magisterial District, a total of 535 are recorded as outstanding for the same period.
In addition, 1359 cases filed were noted to be misplaced during the same period in the Georgetown Magisterial District. Seven hundred and seventy one (771) were reported missing for 2013 alone, the Report stated.
It was also noted that 2013 recorded 162 more missing dockets than the year before, despite a 100% drop for civil cases in the East Demerara Magisterial District and 16.2% drop in criminal cases for the West Demerara Magisterial District.
In light of this, the Report documents that the Head of the Budget Agency explained that the case dockets at the districts audited are filed away in yearly order but “not sequentially, while in the case of pending matters, these jackets are presented as per courts’ fixtures regardless of years of filing.”
“The matters before the Court are not in any yearly order. Some matters are filed and disposed of within a particular year while orders may take a longer time. In relation to the comment on the movement of file registers, efforts are in place to have this rectified,” the agency head noted.
Further, it was stated that an exercise is ongoing to have case jackets for matters that are concluded filed in sequential order.
As such, the Audit Office recommends that the department re-examines its system of filing case jackets in order to ensure that all files are presented for audit in a timely manner.
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