The Attorney General says come next year, preliminary inquiries will be a thing of the past.
He made the comment while speaking at a meeting in Gulf View last evening.
According to AG Faris Al Rawi, legislative steps had been completed to abolish judicial hearings to determine whether there is sufficient evidence for an individual to stand trial.
He said the move will go a long way towards lessening the burden placed on the magistrates' courts, which have been stretched beyond capacity.
“We have legislated for the increase in judicial numbers,” he said. “We have introduced case managers but before this year is done, God willing, we will abolish preliminary enquiries.”
According to the AG, with the introduction of maximum sentence indicators and plea bargaining, criminal trials will begin within a year.
Opposition senator Saddam Hosein had expressed concerns with the abolition of preliminary enquires when the bill was piloted in the Senate earlier this year. He queried whether the law targeted certain people.
However, the AG denied the move would be used to manipulate the system. He insisted it would aid the police service and help curb crime.
“With the abolition of preliminary enquiries we will remove a further 26,000 cases,” he explained. “That means you have 43 magistrates in 12 courts dealing with a few thousand matters as opposed to 146,000 matters.”
He added: “It means the municipal police can deal with the policing of environment, and that the police are left to deal with serious work in a drastically reduced number of cases before the court.”
Story by JESSE RAMDEO
Image courtesy PEOPLE'S NATIONAL MOVEMENT (PNM)