Missing and incomplete police court files
Submitted by ‘JW’
Sometimes when things go wrong with the court or with the police, it is a money issue for which the blame should fall squarely on the BLP and DLP politicians who starved the courts and police budgets for two decades.
Sometimes though, what goes wrong is not a money issue or an equipment issue or a lack of laws issue.
Sometimes it’s all about poor leadership and unprofessional management.
This is one of those times.
When court and police management don’t set standards and monitor compliance and performance you can expect exactly this to happen: just as it has been happening for years…
Chaos in the courts
If this sounds like chaos to you, you’re getting the picture. For years Chief Justice Simmons was obsessed with building a shiny new court, and he ignored managing the process in the courts. For years Commissioner of Police Dottin was obsessed with arresting criminals and he ignored managing the prosecution procedures – what happens to the criminals after they are arrested.
The end result is what we have today in 2012: a broken system that could be fixed with a little top-down attention in the courts and the police. It would take leadership and management skills to fix this, and not much of anything else.
I hope our new Chief Justice is listening.
Submitted by JW
Editor’s note: We encourage our readers to visit the Nation News website to read the following newspaper story, but we have to reprint the entire story here because the Nation has proven many times that it deletes or modifies stories to suit political agendas.
Please read The Nation story Call for new police procedures
Call for new police procedures
A lack of files with which to prosecute matters has left the newest magistrate on the Bench upset and calling for new procedures by police.
Magistrate Graveney Bannister said there was no reason why matters from 2009 should be without the relevant documents.
Bannister was speaking in the District “A” Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday after being told that there were no files for a number of cases which were scheduled to be tried or started.
The statement about the lack of files is one which the magistrate has been hearing since he assumed duties last year. Bannister has started not only giving a mention date, at which time pre-trial documents are to be handed over to accused or attorneys, but also setting a date for the start of the trial or preliminary enquiry at the same time.
However, yesterday he noted that “somebody was dropping the ball” when he was told that the prosecution had no file for a 2009 matter.
“Why is it that you can’t have a file for this matter?” he asked.
Bannister said part of the problem could be attributed to “one week there is one prosecutor and the next week there is another prosecutor – the left hand is ignorant of what the right hand is doing”.
The magistrate also chastised lawmen for “turning up on the morning of the trial” and handing files to prosecutors, which then caused matters to be adjourned.
“If there is no timely disclosure of files, there will be no trials,” he stressed.
“There might be some matters that are not so complex that the prosecution might be willing to start without a file but these are summary matters. Why is it taking so long, sometimes a year, to get papers?” he asked.
The magistrate then suggested that investigators, who were building files, hand over what statements they have to the prosecution, with a list of what other statements might possibly be added.
That way the file can then make its way through “the channels”.
“This waiting until you get a file should not hold up a case,” he said.
In the past few years, magistrates in the District “A” Magistrates’ Court have been complaining about the lack of files which caused a number of cases to be adjourned.