-Five Magistrates successfully attack backlog
The five Magistrates who were assigned to tackle the backlog of cases, have managed to complete a great deal of work.
After almost six months in operation the last sitting of the Night Court will be held
today from 15:00hrs to 20:00hrs where the five Magistrates will try to wrap up their remaining matters and pull the curtain down.
The Magistrates who were assigned to tackle the backlog are Magistrate Beverly Bishop-Cheddie, Magistrate Brendon Glasford, Magistrate Madan Kissoon, Magistrate Leslie Benjamin and Magistrate Liza Hanoman.
They occupied five courtrooms in the Georgetown Magistrate Courts. Magistrate Kissoon held matters in Courts 10 and 11; Magistrate Bishop-Cheddie held matters in Court Six, Magistrate Glasford held matters in Court 12, Magistrate Benjamin in Court Eight and Nine and Magistrate Hanoman in Court Seven.
The first sitting of the Night Court was held on October 19, last, at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts and saw Magistrate Kissoon hearing two in-camera matters. Akasie Primo was charged with stealing a Samsung cellular phone valued at $59,000 from a schoolboy.
He pleaded not guilty to the offence and was remanded to prison.
When the Night Court concludes today all the matters that were unable to be completed will be transferred to Chief Magistrate, Ann McLennan, for reassignment to the day court Magistrates.
The Night Court hearings are currently being conducted Mondays to Fridays from 3:00pm to 8:00pm.
Kaieteur News understands that if there is further accumulation of cases, the Night Court will return to tackle the matters.
Some of the summary matters that have been heard at the Night Courts are assault causing actual bodily harm, simple larceny, threatening and abusive language, threatening language, attempt to commit a felony, robbery with violence, fraudulent conversion, break and entry, unlawfully and maliciously wounding.
Among the matters held at the Night Court was one in which Michael Ferdinand, a vagrant, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to a charge which stated that he broke and entered the Christian Mission Church and stole a quantity of peanut butter.
Before his sentencing he told the court, “I took it because I heard the people at the church does normally give out food, but the day when I go there no one was there, so I decided to take it myself.”
The need for a Night Court was amplified after the March 3, 2013 prison unrest at the Georgetown Prison at Camp and D’Urban Streets when 17 inmates were on remand, lost their lives.
Out of the commission of Inquiry into the unrest, one of the solutions highlighted was for the Government to undertake initiatives to reduce the quantum of backlogged cases.
After a high level meeting was held between the representative of Government and the Judiciary the Night Court was established.
A total of $25M was secured by the Government to finance the payment of salaries of the five temporary magistrates and ancillary staff.
President David Granger had communicated his favourable assurance towards the establishment of the Night Court.
For many years the issue of backlogged cases was found to be responsible for the high prison population which resulted in the overcrowding of the penal system.
Meanwhile, the daily sitting of the court is expected to continue Monday- Fridays from 09:00hrs to0 14:30hrs.
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