Judiciary: Containers for court not permanent

CONTAINERS at the Maximum Security Prison (MSP) that house the video conferencing centre for virtual criminal cases are not a permanent solution.

Neither are they optimum, the Judiciary acknowledged in a statement on Tuesday.

The Judiciary also said it was “indeed sorry” that heavy rain led to a leak in one of the containers.

It explained that investigations showed a tiny hole in one of the containers caused the leak, and said the hole has since been sealed.

“The Judiciary has never presumed that a containerised solution would be either permanent or optimum. It most definitely is not,” the statement said.

It added that it has realised though that “the covid19 pandemic has placed us all in a position in which we are less than comfortable or optimum.”

Since the covid19 shutdown, which also led to restricted access to courts across the country, the Judiciary has held virtual hearings. Although measures have since been updated to allow for in-person hearings, virtual courts are still being uised as a means of protecting the public, staff and judicial officers. Prison authorities have also adopted a policy that prisoners who leave their facilities are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine at the Santa Rosa facility before they are cleared to return to the general population.

The Judiciary said it was grateful that because of the work, which has been ongoing, it was able to put in place solutions quickly to deal with the situation which led to the interruption of the operations of courts.

“We have however recognised that in this unique crisis situation the legal profession, inclusive of its judicial wing, has a grave responsibility to the country to play a most critical and essential role in human rights.

“For this reason we accept some measure of temporary discomfort as we try our best to ensure that services are provided to the people of our nation,” the statement said.

Last Wednesday, defence attorney Amarelle Francis complained that the virtual court system at the MPS was “no bed of roses.” She spoke of the leaking container and space constraints.


"Judiciary: Containers for court not permanent"

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