Nevis facing backlog of criminal cases

By Monique Washington

(Charlestown, Nevis) April 5:  The High Court in Charlestown, Nevis is facing a backlog of criminal cases with 70% of current cases being traversed from previous assizes.

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Nevis Circuit opened on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 with seven out of ten criminal cases being traversed from previous assizes. In this session of the sitting of the Court, there are less than fourteen (14) court days allotted. Immediately thereafter, the criminal assizes in St. Kitts will begin.

Currently, there are five (5) High Court schedule dates for the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. In St. Kitts, the criminal assizes opens on the first Mondays in January, May and September while in Nevis, the criminal assizes open the first Tuesdays in April and November. The April 2017 assizes will break April 13, 2017 for the Easter holiday and resume on April 24, 2017 and end the first week in May.

Nevispages questioned the Director of Public Prosecutor, Valston Graham on Tuesday as to whether or not all cases will be completed and in response he said “we will try’. He pointed out that Nevis assizes are overlapped by the St. Kitts assizes. He explained that the overlapping dates can be changed by the Chief Justice only. He noted that a request for additional help has been made and he and his team are “hopeful” that they will complete all 10 cases.

On March 13, 2017, St Kitts opened its second high court in the Sir Lee Llewellyn Moore Judicial and Legal Complex. The attorney general and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Vincent Byron indicated that the additional court room would help reduce the backlog of cases before the high court, thus speeding up access to justice.



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