The criminal justice system in Barbados is in need of reform, says Justice Randall Worrell.
Speaking at the BAR association’s annual general meeting at the weekend, he explained reform could take many forms.
“It can be reform by way of passing an Act of Parliament which will have the desired effect of mandating changes from the highest law making body in the island or it can take several other forms if it is accepted that sometimes the process of parliamentary change may itself be slow in coming.
“Reform can also be made from within the judicial system whether that takes the form of practice direction in which case the administration of the court, through its own process, can make changes in the way in which things are done in the court system,” he explained.
“How we as stakeholders in the criminal justice system approach the question of reform . . . will therefore depend on the particular aspects of the system which we perceive are in need of reform and also the manner in which reform can best be achieved in order to have lasting effect,” he added.
He suggested that in order for the process to be successful, there should be a partnership with the police and other government agencies, involved in the criminal justice system, such as prison and probation departments.
“So basically I will be putting forward to you, three major instances through which the criminal justice system can be reformed and these are legislation, practice direction and stakeholder involvement whether that involvement be by bench and Bar, and by Bar I mean prosecution, as well as defence lawyers or anyone in the Bar Association who is willing to offer solutions to this end.”
He stressed that all of these entities had a vested interest in the reform of the system.