Senior Cop Points To Court Delays: ‘It takes A Bit Too Long For A Matter To Be Heard’ – St. Lucia Times News

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

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A senior police officer has pointed to the need to address issues in the court system as part of Saint Lucia’s crime-fighting strategy.

” I am not blaming the judiciary per se but it takes a bit too long for a matter to be heard,” Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) George Nicholas said Wednesday night.

Nicholas spoke during an appearance on the Hot 7 Television programme ‘The Hot Seat.

“There is a saying that justice delayed is justice denied,” he noted.

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In this regard, he referred to what he described as ‘a typical example’.

Nicholas recalled that around 2012 he conducted an identification procedure in a robbery matter involving two witnesses and two suspects.

But he explained that the matter was only heard last year.

He disclosed that by then, one of the witnesses and one of the defendants had passed away.

In addition, Nicholas  recalled that the police had charged the surviving witness for a robbery and he was at the Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF).

“And when he came to court he claimed that he was receiving threats,” the senior cop told ‘The Hot Seat’.

Nicholas said, as a result, the witness wanted to discontinue the case.

“So you see because of the length of time that it takes for a matter to be adjudicated, it sort of impedes or affects the successful outcome of the case,” he observed.

Nicholas explained that some cases involve children.

However, he noted that by the time the case is heard the children have become adults.

“And for them to relive all that experience it is more traumatising than when the matter occurred,” he stated.

“So if something could happen whereby you have – I don’t know if it will take more Magistrates or more Judges whatever the case may be to sort of expedite some of those cases, I think it would be a step in the right direction in crime-fighting,” Nicholas observed.

Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre has promised to reduce the backlog of cases in court by appointing new judges in the criminal justice system.

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