New Children Court opens
Chief Justice Ivor Archie pictured (right) at opening of New Children Court in St Clair on March 6.
The first rehabilitative Children Court in the CARICOM region was opened along Elizabeth Street, St Clair on Tuesday.
This office is located a short distance away from the Western Main Road and a similar office is expected to be opened along Fyzabad Road, Fyzabad on Wednesday.
Chief Justice Ivor Archie, in delivering one of the feature addresses, said the opening of the St Clair office was monumental as it was an accumulation of just under four years of hard work.
“Today we have reached an important milestone and I am honoured that you have chosen to share this accomplishment with us,” Archie said.
He said the St Clair Children Court, as well as the Fyzabad office, will hear legal proceedings involving children (persons under the age of 18) who were charged with an offence and/or requiring supervision.
“Children charged, care, drug, mental health matters are the main categories of issues that this Court will hear. The Children Court also has jurisdiction in matters where the main issue is the care and protection of a child and for matters where a child has either been the victim of or a bystander in matters requiring a Protection Order under the Domestic Violence Act.”
“I have spoken about major milestones in the reformation of the juvenile justice system, but there is also a destination in mind in terms of measurable successes. We expect to realise a decrease in the incidence of child offending, a reduction in the numbers of children in detention for serious and violent offences and a reduction in the time children spend on remand awaiting trial. Ladies and gentlemen, I submit to you that the Children Court and its attending systems, procedures and processes will now and in years to come prove to be one of the most critical solutions to the growing crime rate in Trinidad and Tobago,” Archie said.
Meanwhile, the Chief Justice noted that a Tobago office of the Children Court is expected to be opened in the near future.
He boasted that this is one of several initiatives currently engaging the Judiciary to bring about meaningful reform and modernisation of the administration of justice in Trinidad and Tobago.
“The recent introduction of the Criminal Procedure Rules is already showing promise in reducing delay in the criminal justice system. We have recently completed phase one of an exercise to rationalise the criminal backlog and have discovered that that backlog is not as large as we first anticipated."
"We are exploring opportunities for using modern Information and Communication to improve the collection of court payments, particularly, maintenance payments in the first instance, and we are reviewing our existing processes probate services, to name but a few,” Archie explained.
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