Major improvements planned for Justice System

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Justices, Magistrates and Members of the Bar took to the streets to Mark the Opening of the Legal Year, Wednesday January 13.

NASSAU, Bahamas — The Government plans to re-double its efforts to ameliorate the current Justice System, so major improvements will be carried out this year to support the administration of justice, Attorney General Senator the Hon John Delaney said.

He was speaking during a Special Sitting of the House of Assembly celebrating the Opening of the Legal Year, Wednesday, January 14. The Sitting was preceded by a church service at Christ Church Cathedral.

“The office of Attorney-General will seek to re-order and re-align resources to strengthen and enhance the efficiency of and output of the prosecutorial side and civil litigation side,” Mr Delaney said.

More reform initiatives are on the horizon including several pieces of legislature currently being reviewed including revisions to the penal code, criminal procedure code and regulation for the planning bill, which is currently before parliament, a Court of Appeal Amendment in addition to other pieces of legislature, he said.

In terms of the physical plan, Mr Delaney said the Government is moving ‘full speed ahead’ with plans for a wholesale renovation and expansion of The Supreme Court facilities for the Bank Lane and Parliament Square area.2-Chief-Justice

“Existing buildings will be gutted, remodelled and in some cases expanded and built out as modern state-of-the-art quarters with technology well before our time.”

An additional 4,000 square feet will be added to upper floors and attic and there are plans for new ‘Judges’ chambers, secretarial areas and improved jury’s and witnesses accommodations, a modern and digital library, conference rooms, consultation rooms and other facilities. Modern security will be provided for including CCTV, said Mr Delaney.

“The relevant contract was signed last month with a premier local firm of architects for the redesign of interior of these precincts and exterior landscaping,” he explained.

“Construction works should begin within the second quarter – be executed in phases – and are estimated to take about eighteen months.”

Upon completion, said Mr Delaney, the area is expected to have been ‘transformed into a beautiful campus’ of the Supreme Court in the heart of our capital city.

“By mid-year, the modern Magisterial Court Complex at South and Nassau Streets is expected to be completed and will provide for the consolidation of one building of the Magistrates Courts with the exception of the Coroner’s Court which will remain at Victoria Gardens.”

He added that work would shortly commence for the construction of the second Coroner’s Court at Victoria Gardens. “It is well understood that the criminal justice system is the subject of public attention, especially so at a time when our society is impacted by an increase in serious crimes.”

Mr Delaney said it was with this thought in mind that every effort will be taken to meet these challenges.

The Special Sitting was followed by a reception held in the Gardens of the former Foreign Affairs on East Hill Street.