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DPP introduces new Court Rostering System in the VI

Law enforcers welcome Justice Vicki Ann Ellis to the Jurisdiction
Recently appointed Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mr. Wayne L. Rajbansie. Photo: Javon Liburd/VINO
Her Ladyship Madame Justice Vicki Ann Ellis, assigned to the territory of the Virgin Islands as Resident Judge. Photo: VINO
Her Ladyship Madame Justice Vicki Ann Ellis, assigned to the territory of the Virgin Islands as Resident Judge. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - During a sitting in the High Court to mark the opening of the new law year, recently appointed Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mr. Wayne L. Rajbansie, in his address to commemorate the event, disclosed a list of projects that are being undertaken by the office of the DPP; one being the introduction of a new court rostering system.

During the sitting that took place earlier today, September 18, 2012, at the High Court in Road Town, law enforcers of the Virgin Islands, also welcomed Her Ladyship, Justice Vicki Ann Ellis to the jurisdiction, as the new Territorial Judge. 

There was also an address given by the first female Acting Chief Justice, Her Ladyship, Janice M. Pereira. The address was broadcast live to Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) territories from the High Court of Justice in St. Vincent & The Grenadines where the Court of Appeal held its first scheduled sitting for the new law year.

Under the supervision and directions of Mr. Rajabnsie, he said, that in accordance with the new rostering system, the PCC will be assigned all the work of the Privy Council and the court of appeal. 

He added, “The PCC will assist in vetting the complaints and the indictments and will have a greater input in office administration. There is an October sitting of the Honourable Court of Appeal, all files are already in her possession. PCC has also been assigned additional tasks on Reform Committees and responsibility sharing and supervision of junior counsel.” 

According to DPP Rajbansie, Criminal Assizes in the territory will now be staffed by two Senior Crown Counsels (SCC). “These two attorneys will be responsible for all the Assize Court matters for the upcoming Michaelmas Law Term. The matters have been set down on a list and the files have been prepared and transferred to them. Both SCCs are presently in the trial preparation stages and it is anticipated that they will become intimate and au courant with those matters in ample time for the first day of trial. Their talents and experience are also well utilized in the vetting of complaints, drafting of file summaries and indictments, supervising of individual Magistrates’ Court prosecutors and committee work in the Financial Services Sector.” 

Mr. Rajbansie stated that, with two attorneys focused on the Assizes, the remaining four members of staff will now address all the work of the Magistrate’s Court. He went on to say that two persons have been assigned to the two Magistrates’ Courts in the Virgin Islands; the Court of prospect Reef and Johns hole adding that the Virgin Gorda Magistrate’s Court will be assigned attorneys monthly. 

“The office is presently in the process of shifting and reassigning the files.” 

He noted that this system will take effect immediately and will be reviewed at the close of the term in December. 

“This hopefully will see counsel being better prepared for trial. Counsel now has sufficient time to communicate with the police and have all witnesses attend trial as scheduled.” 

Apart of the opening of the new law year, 2012-13, the territory welcomed the new Resident Judge, Her Leadership, Justice Vicki Ann Ellis, who took up the post from September 10, 2012. 

Justice Ellis was previously assigned to the island of Grenada as High Court Judge and is a national of St. Lucia. 

Briefly, Justice Ellis stated that she now understands why so many judges are willing to be assigned to this jurisdiction. She added it is because of the willingness and the patience of the people. 

She added that the work of the court staff and law enforcers in the VI, live up to the reputation of her fellow judges of the Eastern Caribbean Bench. 

“My colleagues have also advised me that not only is the quality of advocacy commendable, but that you provide qualified support to the bench and are cordial in your interactions with each other.” 

She added that she sincerely hopes that this attitude continues in her tenure in the territory; “I am known to be a very hard working person, so I have no doubt that we will get along very well together.”

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