Chief Justice Announces Enactment of Criminal Procedure Act to Tackle Backlog

Chief Justice Announces Enactment of Criminal Procedure Act to Tackle Backlog

There’s big news coming out of the judiciary tonight. Chief Justice Louise Blenman announced today that the Criminal Procedure (Plea Discussion and Plea Agreement) Act 2024, will be officially enacted on June 3. The law establishes a new regime where an accused person or suspect may engage in plea discussions or conclude a plea agreement with a prosecutor at any time before conviction, including even before charges are laid. Justice Blenman says that the legislation is one of several initiatives which will assist in clearing the backlog of cases in the courts. Justice Blenman says that the enactment is aligned with the recommendations made by the Criminal Justice Board (CJB), a multidisciplinary body established to address systemic challenges and increase efficiency in the judiciary. The nine sub-committees of the CJB have recently made recommendations which Chief Justice Blenman says quote, “underscore the critical importance of continuous training across all sectors of the Criminal Justice System. Additionally, recommendations for legislative reforms, technological advancements, and structural organizational changes have been put forth to streamline processes and alleviate backlogs,” end of quote. The Chief Justice notes that the CJB is working to respond to the recommendations encapsulated by the Caribbean Court of Justice (C.C.J.) Academy for Law’s “Needham Point Declaration on Criminal Justice Reform: Achieving A Modern Criminal Justice System.”

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