Chief Justice Bryan Sykes has highlighted that the long delays that the courts are experiencing in receiving information from the police on electronic devices that are seized from individuals charged with lotto scamming offences, are stymieing the cases.
He noted that for instance, during the last Easter Circuit Court in Trelawny, 57 of those cases were disposed of “without a trial or a plea”.
“Because the reports concerning the examination of these devices was not available. And nobody could say when they would become available,” Sykes argued.
He was delivering the main address at the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Saturday.
He noted that unlike former days, lotto scammers now use electronic devices, such as smartphones, computers, laptops and tablets.
“So now, in the early years of the statute, persons were caught with paper with identity information, the names of persons overseas, their addresses, telephone numbers, bank accounts and so on. But they wanted to become a bit more sophisticated,” said Sykes.
He added that, “In fact, there is no self-respecting lotto scammer who is going to be caught with paper. Everything is going to be digital; okay? So what that means is this; when the police conduct their operations, they collect the electronic devices. But here’s the problem, the electronic devices cannot be examined in time to meet the time standard.”
Sykes said the players in lotto scamming have now learnt that if they use electronic devices, there is a strong likelihood of getting away with the crime if caught by the police.
“So, the lotto scammers have now learnt a simple thing. If I keep the information in electronic form, on my smartphone, on my computer, on my laptop, chances are the matter won’t get to trial,” Sykes said.