An accurate court record is a critical component of every trial and court proceeding.
In most Superior Courts, the Judiciary uses digital recording technology to ensure an accurate record for every court event. It has been years since the local court system has been earmarked for such a reformation under the “Modernisation of the Justice Administration System.
Under the modernisation project, several courts have been refurbished and a number of up-to-date features were set to be installed in the Court of Appeal, the Chief Justice’s Court and the Commercial Courts. This includes the voice recognition systems, which would put to an end the need for judges to write notes in longhand. This digital feature is currently being implemented at the Georgetown Supreme Court. The system is primarily being used to record the endings of criminal and civil proceeding.
Kaieteur News understands that the voice recording system has been in operation since the opening of the new session of the Demerara Assizes. The new system installed in the courtroom of the Chief Justice (Ag) is said to have significantly eased the burden on judicial officers with regards to recording the end of trials.
The system replaces the obsolete use of tape recorders and taking notes long hand.
The digital sound recording system uses both a primary and a back-up recording server. The primary server holds the court record. The back-up runs automatically during the proceedings and captures all courtroom activity.
The back-up system records attorneys, litigants and other court users, and is stored securely within the courthouse.
According to protocols approved by the Supreme Court, access to the back-up recording is strictly limited to reconstructing the parts of an official court proceeding that have been lost on the primary recording. Assigned judge‘s approval is required to gain access to the back-up recording.
Several years ago, the government signed a US$25M agreement with the IDB, to undertake several institutional reforms within the local justice system.
Through the project, a Law Revision Unit was established to facilitate the ongoing revision of the laws. At present, the laws of Guyana are updated up to December 31, 2010, which, according to Singh, is a significant achievement.
The project is said to be a quite complex one with unfamiliar dialogue to institutions that had most probably never thought of reviewing their structures.
Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General, Basil Williams, had recently indicated that the entire judiciary system needs to be revamped before the issue of backlog cases can be tackled more aggressively.
In this regard, Williams said that he is looking at establishing a coordinating committee made up of representatives of the justice system, who will meet regularly and try to tackle problems in every area of the judiciary system thereby constituting a holistic approach to addressing case backlog.
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