Attorney: Keep virtual hearings
Attorney at Law Martin George says while he agrees with the Prime Minister’s statement that the pace of justice is slow in T&T, the COVID-19 pandemic, despite its’ restrictions, has presented opportunities to speed up this country’s legal process, including the electronic filing of documents and the virtual court.
George says these methods have been proven to work efficiently over time:
“And we must keep those two going, we must never go back to the physical filing or to have an in- person court except for criminal matters.”
He says the virtual environment also results in savings, particularly if a key witness is abroad.
“For instance they can give evidence or be cross examined and you can have the entire trial continue as opposed to having to fly in everyone into the country plus cover all living costs.”
On Friday, Chief Justice Ivor Archie issued his latest practice direction indicating that from yesterday (Monday), jury trials at the High Court will once again be permissible after a two year hiatus.
The new practice direction also allows for “hybrid hearings” where some aspects will be virtual and others in-person. Prisoners, however, will not be brought to court and, therefore, there will still be the need for live video feeds from the prisons.
Date: March 15, 2022
By: Beena Mahase