The Judiciary has asserted there was no hidden agenda behind its invitation to the media and members of the public to attend virtual Court hearings.

In a release, the Judiciary has sought to clarify a perception that it was forced to do so because of outside pressure or the threat of legal action.

The full statement from the Judiciary, follows…

JUDICIARY CORRECTS STAKEHOLDER MISCONCEPTION

The public is advised that the admission of the media and members of the public by the Court to virtual hearings did not come about as a result of pressure by anyone on, or Pre-Action Protocol letter to, the Judiciary.

The Judiciary had planned for a number of “virtual seats” to be allocated to persons on a first come first served basis in virtual courts once the hearing is a public one.

Up to April 15th, 2020 no public hearings had been conducted in the virtual court hearing format. The first public hearings were conducted on April 16th, 2020 and “virtual seats” were provided to the media.

The Judiciary has been determining the size and nature and identification of various virtual courtrooms, and it is unfortunate that the Attorneys, who represented a particular stakeholder, did not seek the guidance of the Registrar of the Supreme Court. The Registrar would quite easily have provided the relevant information to obviate the misconception that led to the dissemination of misleading information by the stakeholder.

The public is advised further that emergency hearings and after-hours hearings are seldom public or advertised. Some matters are held in camera by law or by their nature. It is therefore a matter for the Judge or Judicial Officer to determine whether a matter falls into the latter category.