Wednesday 8 July, 2020

Judiciary celebrates judge alone murder trial completion

The Trinidad and Tobago Judiciary is celebrating a technological milestone - a murder trial was completed using judge alone methods and video conferencing. 

The trial, The State vs Quincy Martinez aka ‘Bookie’, was completed in a short four days, beginning on Friday, May 15 and wrapping up on Tuesday, May 19. It was presided over by Justice Lisa Ramsumair- Hinds.  

In the end, Martinez was found not guilty of the charges, despite being held on remand for the last 12 years. 

Ramsumair-Hinds remarked that the new practice gives a good look into the potential of a more efficient judicial system. She discussed the benefit of both the government’s initiatives for trials by judge alone, as well as the convenience that COVID-19 has allowed for in holding virtual hearings. 

“For some, the view has been that the use of electronic means in the Criminal Division should be limited to case management, remand adjournments and bail, steering quite clear of the main event of the criminal trial. That thinking has slowly been replaced by an appreciation that the use of electronic means has great potential to mitigate several hindrances to the trial process,” she said. 

The defence team also praised the process calling it a ‘huge step forward for the Judiciary and for access to criminal justice on the whole in Trinidad and Tobago’. The defence was able to cross-examine and manoeuvre exhibits through screen-sharing.  

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