The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has been moving to clear up a backlog of cases in the courts.
According to information obtained by the Times, there were some 1,900 cases on record in December last year.
However, working with Defense Attorneys, the Registrar, victims and other concerned parties, three hundred cases were disposed of between January and April this year.
Deputy DPP, Stephen Brette, has disclosed that the office of the DPP, in addition to setting a target of reducing the backlog of cases, also wants to work with the powers that be to obtain a full complement of staff.
Brette said this includes Crown Counsel, Police Prosecutor and accompanying administrative staff.
He spoke of the need to get the system functioning quickly.
“We think when backlog of cases is reduced to a manageable size, then we can have the new cases coming into the system dealt with at the speed that the backlog should have been dealt with in the first place,” the Deputy DPP told reporters today.
He felt this will boost the confidence of the public in the crown prosecution service and improve public perception of it.
Brette said he did not know that marijuana offences are considered to be minor.
He was responding to the argument that cases like marijuana possession could be handled in an alternative way rather than adding to the burden of the courts with them.
“We have summary and indictable matters when it comes to marijuana offences,” the Deputy DPP explained.
He disclosed that the way the offences are categorized is based on the amount.
Brette said there is a protocol in place where if someone has a certain quantity of marijuana the matter would go before the Magistrate’s court, whereas over a certain limit would land the offender before the High Court.
He said it was his understanding that the intention is to increase the number of Judges to deal specifically with the backlog of cases.
“That is our focus at this time,” Brette declared.