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Do away with preliminary inquiries

Do away with preliminary inquiries


An advisor to this country’s national prosecution service is recommending that the practice of having preliminary inquiries be done away with.{{more}}

Criminal justice advisor to the Eastern Caribbean at the British High Commission in Barbados Dan Suter says preliminary inquiries contribute to delays, which he said are endemic to the justice system.

“Why does a witness have to give evidence twice?

“Some would say yes, we do, but come on, let’s move in terms of something that you can clearly see; if you take that part out, then we can quicken the system up…,” Suter said.

Suter was speaking at the launch of the National Prosecution Service of St Vincent and the Grenadines Media Protocol and the Social Media Identification Policy on May 3, at the CLICO conference room.

Preliminary Inquiries are held in the magistrate’s court for all criminal matters before they are heard in the high court.

The advisor said delays have proven to be a challenge, despite efforts to try and resolve the problem.

He stressed that delays in court make witnesses bored by having to return to court all the time.

“Record how many times the matter was adjourned in terms of who was making the application for them. I think it is important for the public at large to know that it doesn’t always rest in terms of the prosecution. The defence delay matters as well…,” Suter noted.

Suter said he is aware of situations where suddenly a defence attorney has a medical appointment, but is appearing in another court, and would instruct somebody else.

“There are other ways of dealing with such matters and the people who suffer are the community that we serve, because the case is not resolved,” Suter said.

He said the Code for Prosecutors in St Vincent, plays a small role in trying to iron out the problem.

According to Suter, the media also has a responsibility in keeping “tabs” in relation to delays in the court.