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Chief Justice Pereira & Judge Redhead clash on case management issues

- Madam Pereira supports idea while Judge Redhead believes it is a waste of time
Her Ladyship the Hon. Madam Chief Justice Janice M. Pereira expressed her full support for having case managment in criminal trials. Photo:VINO
Justice Albert Redhead said the case management that is applied by the Court system is a waste of time. Photo:VINO/File
Justice Albert Redhead said the case management that is applied by the Court system is a waste of time. Photo:VINO/File
ROAD TOWN Tortola, VI – Recently appointed Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Her Ladyship the Hon. Madam Justice Janice M. Pereira has expressed full confidence in having the case management process occurring throughout the judicial system.

This view is in stark contrast to one expressed previously by Justice Albert Redhead, who described the process previously as a ‘humbug’ for criminal trials.

During a press conference held yesterday November 21, 2012 at the Premier’s Office, Her Ladyship expressed this confidence in saying she would advocate for the process in criminal trials. “I would also like to see whereby we reach to the point whereby we actually have Masters who would case manage criminal matters…” she said.

Justice Redhead’s position

At the start of the Criminal Assizes in May 2012, Justice Albert Redhead strongly dismissed the notion of case management that is applied by the Court system, labelling the procedure as “a waste of time” and a “humbug” to getting cases underway.

The outspoken Justice Redhead had noted that the Virgin Islands was the only place in the OECS where case management takes place for criminal matters and the practice as he knows it, is that the accused men or women appear for arraignment and then a date is fixed. He further expressed that case management only encouraged delays.

When told about Justice Redhead’s position and asked for her viewpoint, she responded, “I think it depends on the point at which it occurs because… once the trial itself has commenced… then one would not expect that the judge would be seeking, as it were, to conduct management in that way.”

Criminal aspect

Her Ladyship also said, “In respect of the criminal aspect, [in] many of the [OECS] states, we are now seeking to put in place, criminal divisions with criminal reduction procedures.”

Justice Pereira further expressed that this was especially relevant in matters of pre-trial procedures, citing as an example the stage where a matter may be charged.

“Following through on the indictment,” she noted, “those procedures can certainly be streamlined and in that way case managed so by the time they do get where the trial takes place that it would have had a smooth progress through the system to trial and completion.”

She added, “We have for example, preliminary inquiry procedures, and we would like to see whereby those types of procedures are now done by for example paper committals, sufficiency hearings which as it were would see the system moving in a smoother direction.”

Civil procedure rules

Madam Justice Pereira further expressed, “Currently we have the civil procedure rules and in those rules there are case management powers which are being exercised by Masters of the court.”

“They perform quite a considerable amount of the case management as well as the sitting judges,” she said, “those rules, administered effectively ensure that backlog is kept to a minimum.”

Based on research conducted it was shown that case management rules were essentially introduced to reduce backlog in litigation procedures and involves coordination between Judges and lawyers in setting trial dates to effectively manage cases in a smooth and efficient manner.


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