Categorized | National News

Stiffer Court Protocols Implemented

Tyler Symonette, Journal Staff Writer

The judiciary of The Bahamas has implemented stricter protocols in its response to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis ordered that a 24-hour curfew be set for the whole country, and while the judiciary was already in phase 1 of its protocol, this has now prompted the judiciary to take a step further to implement phase 2

Chief Justice Sir Brian Moree announced all of the protocols that will occur.

“New criminal jury trial in New Providence and Grand Bahama are suspended until the 14th of April 2020, when the position will be reviewed on the basis of prevailing circumstances at that time. Arraignments fixed in New Providence for the 27th of March are adjourned to the 9th of May at 10 a.m.,” he said.

”Arraignments in Grand Bahama will continue subject to strict adherence to social distancing requirements. Until the 31st of March, only urgent bail applications will be heard in New Providence and Grand Bahama. The urgent bail judge roster for New Providence is posted on the judiciary’s website. Senior Justice Gray Evans will hear urgent bail applications in Grand Bahama.”

With all cases that must be in person, social distancing will be a requirement.

Only those who are absolutely needed in the courtroom will be in attendance and no more than 15 people at a time can be present.

Hearings will also be overseen by police to avoid overcrowding.

In the Magistrate’s Court on the criminal side, arraignments and first time pleas will happen on weekdays between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., in Grand Bahama between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., and in Abaco between 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Voluntary bill of indictments, new trial dates, part heard civil matters are all suspended until March 31.

New dates will be assigned by the magistrate.

Sir Brian also announced that the Magistrate’s Court in Exuma is closed until further notice and the resident magistrate has been transferred to Grand Bahama.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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