Saturday and night court sittings have resumed to address the backlog of almost 400,000 outstanding traffic tickets and 579 emails.
Chief Parish Court Judge Chester Crooks shared that 70 per cent of the cases in parish courts are for traffic offences and a decision was taken to increase the number of judges at the courts, to sit both in the nights and on Saturdays.
Crooks was speaking during a ‘Conversation with the Judiciary’ forum, held at the Spanish Court Hotel in St Andrew on Friday (March 10).
“As such, at the Corporate Area Traffic Court, four judges, including judges of the Traffic Court, are now sitting each night on Saturdays to address outstanding tickets,” he stated.
Resumption of the sittings is a result of a special project being undertaken with assistance from the Court Administration Division to engage with various persons from courts across the Corporate Area, to inform court users of assigned court dates and respond to relevant queries.
“A number of persons were selected, and they have already commenced carrying out the said task after court hours during the week as well as Saturdays, since February 20, 2023. It is estimated that this project will take approximately three months to be completed,” he said.
Sittings are carried out at the Traffic Court at the branches at Melbourne and Camp Road in Kingston. A container was also retrofitted to serve as a courtroom.
Crooks pointed out that the night and Saturday court sittings were piloted in December 2022.
While lauding the introduction of the end-to-end digitised ticketing system, which “will assist with reducing the paperwork at the courts,” he is recommending amendments to the legislation for the courts to operate digitally.
Against that backdrop, he said the courts continue to perform “very well, notwithstanding the ever-present infrastructural challenges and resource constraints”.
Crooks noted: “For this period under review, the case clearance rate in the parish courts, the criminal divisions, was 124.58 per cent. This means that for every 100 criminal cases filed in the parish courts, 124 were disposed of on average.”