Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 20, 2016 (SKNIS): The administration of justice in St. Kitts and Nevis is expected to improve significantly with the addition of another High Court as well as a third Magistrate Court in Basseterre.
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Honourable Vincent Byron Jr, told the audience at a recent town hall meeting in Molineux that the Government has had success in clearing up a backlog of court cases, but challenges still remain.
“And so we have been able to get the Chief Justice [of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court] based in St. Lucia to agree to us establishing a second High Court in Basseterre,” he said. “And so in the Lee Llewellyn Moore Judicial Complex, we will have a second High Court Chamber. … It also means that we will also have a second Resident Judge here in St. Kitts, who would be assisting us to bring down the backlog of criminal matters.”
The Magistrate Court, which deals with matters of less significance than the High Court, also has a backlog of cases from 2015 and before.
“We have begun work in Basseterre, in District A, to establish a third Magistrate Court and so over the next couple of months we will be opening up a third Magistrate Court in addition to the two that currently exist in Basseterre,” the Attorney General said. “This again will assist in speeding up the way in which trials are being held, not only in terms of criminal trials but as well as the backlog of civil matters.”
Minister Byron added that if a citizen or resident sues another or an entity, it is best to have it heard in a timely manner rather than having the actual trial six months or later.
There are other changes expected over at the Sir Lee Llewellyn Judicial Complex. A new High Court Judge is expected to replace the outgoing Resident Judge Her Ladyship Justice Marlene Carter, whose resignation last month takes effect on August 15, 2016. August will also see the end of the tenure of Acting Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Esan Granderson. He was appointed in January 2016 on a temporary basis. Attorney General Byron said Government is expected to name the new DPP shortly.