Draft report recommends establishment of Coronerís Court

Stabroek News
January 12, 2003

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Among the recommendations made in the interim report of the McKay committee on the criminal justice procedures is the establishment of a Coronerís Court staffed by one or more magistrates to conduct inquests into unnatural deaths.

The reportís recommendations are being fine-tuned and will be incorporated into the committeeís final report. Chief Justice Carl Singh, who is carrying out the functions of Chancellor of the Judiciary in the absence of Chancellor Desiree Bernard, told Stabroek News last week that the recommendations were considered at a conference Chancellor Bernard convened.

Representatives from the Judiciary, the Magistracy, the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General Chambers, the Guyana Bar Association, and the Guyana Human Rights Association were among others who participated in the meeting.

The Chief Justice said several suggestions were made to enhance the efficacy of the recommendations the committee had made. Among these suggestions was the establishment of a central prosecution service, but it was noted that the salary of the professional staff of the DPP Chambers would need to be increased for its establishment.

Other recommendations being considered are the outsourcing of the depositions taken by magistrates and which are still being typed manually by the court staff; the need for a Bail Act and the establishment of a general policy on the granting of bail to avoid the inconsistency that now exists between one magistrate and the next in admitting persons to bail; and the administrative arrangements that need to be in place to allow for the sentencing of persons convicted of certain offences to perform community service.

The McKay committee, headed by Rex McKay SC was appointed by the Chancellor early last year to review the criminal justice system and to make recommendations to address the problems it identified. The committee comprised representatives of the Guyana Bar Association, the Guyana Women Lawyers Association and government and non-governmental agencies.

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