Two retrofitted mobile units were handed over to the Court Administration Division (CAD) to facilitate the participation of vulnerable witnesses, enabling them to give their testimonies from a remote location.
The units have been retrofitted with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, including video conference capabilities, LED monitors and televisions, a hydraulic lift to facilitate persons with disabilities, seating to accommodate up to 12 persons, and storage cabinets.
Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck, in his remarks at a virtual ceremony held on Friday, November 5, said the handing over of the two buses was another step in the direction of the greater use of technology in the courts.
“The justice system will continue to make an impact on the lives of the people of Jamaica as we ensure the efficient and effective delivery of justice,” he said.
In addition, remote hearing guidelines have been introduced for remote court hearings as part of efforts to improve access to justice and to incorporate greater use of technology in court operations. This was unveiled by Chief Justice Bryan Sykes, who said the document was developed in anticipation of increased virtual court proceedings.
“It is a document that is going to guide how persons can gain access to the court remotely, and how the court will conduct its proceedings,” he said, noting that the document will provide essential information for engaging with the courts remotely.
The guidelines are applicable to all formal court hearings, and all formalities apply as if the hearings were conducted in person.
The full guidelines can be found at: courtofappeal.gov.jm, supremecourt.gov.jm, parishcourt.gov.jm and cad.gov.jm.
The document was produced through consultation with stakeholders, including the private bar, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) and the Department of Correctional Services (DCS).
The new initiatives form part of the drive by the Ministry of Justice to provide support to the courts by equipping them with modern infrastructure and technology to enhance service delivery.