Categorized | Featured, National News

Conviction Rate Up 18%


Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson announced yesterday that thanks to Swift Justice, there has been an 18 per cent increase in the conviction rate.

The attorney general credits the programme with moving faster in its attempts to clear the decades of backlogged cases.

According to Mrs. Maynard-Gibson, from May of last year to December there has been a total of 69 cases that were completed, and of that amount, 29 persons were found guilty.

This represents 42 per cent.

However, Swift Justice in October underwent a reconstruction process which proves successful with the conviction rate for January to the present increase to 60 per cent.

“We hope to be able to demonstrate, equally as graphically every month that the project is working, that stakeholders are working together so that matters aren’t being adjourned, things like key witnesses not turning up are in fact avoided and that people (criminals) understand that they will be caught, they will be tried and they will be prosecuted,” she said.

“We’re also moving in the right direction in disposing of matters before the courts. You will see that in less than twelve weeks we were able to dispose of 23 matters with only five judges.”

“We can project that if we continue on that course, that by the end of the year we will easily dispose of at least 200 matters, and that is our target.”

There are only 12 judges in the country with five of them being in the Supreme Court in New Providence and one in Grand Bahama.

Mrs. Maynard-Gibson, who is also the leader of government business in the senate, said that there is a shortage of judges and that adds to the problem of the backlog.

“It gets worst. You can imagine the experience some people have had. You have a trial, you bring your witnesses in, you fly in from wherever, you get the family ready, but the prosecutor is not ready,” he said.

“The court sits all the time ready to hear matters, but it’s off because a key witness didn’t turn up or any other reason that could have been avoided. That just adds to the backlog. So what is happening with Swift Justice is that now everything that is within our control to bring to the table is in fact coming to the table so that matters proceed.”

On the Swift Justice project team are members from the Public Hospitals Authority, Social Services, Her Majesty’s Prison and The Royal Bahamas Police Force.

The project was implemented under the former Christie administration’s term and re-instated in May 2012.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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