The proposed use of a video link between the Supreme Court and HMP Dodds looks very promising and should be functioning by later this week. During a test-run initiated today by Justice Jacqueline Cornelius, it was indicated that the judge will be seeking to use the technology from as early as this Friday to set trial dates. Sergeant Arlington Bourne, technical officer at the prison, conducted the proceedings from that end, while Systems Administrator Marcia Thompson and IT technician Jason Waterman facilitated the courtroom process. Even though there was no prisoner at the other end, prison staff testing the video link could see inside the No. 2 High Court and vice versa. When Bourne was questioned about the length of time it would take between the end of one session and the start of another, he estimated that the turn-around time would be one minute, including the time it would take to “settle” the next prisoner. The only hiccup today was that at times the sound became muffled. This should be rectified by Friday when the session is moved to Supreme Court No. 7. On Monday, 36 matters went before Justice Cornelius for dates to be set for trial. Those were cases where persons had been on remand for a long time. On Friday, she will be focussing on setting dates for 25 cases where accused have already pleaded guilty and have been on bail for lengthy periods. Accused who have not yet been arraigned will still appear in court in person to do so. A few months ago when the USA/UK Video Link Project was launched, Chief Justice of Barbados, Sir Marston Gibson, explained that one of the immediate advantages would be “an immediate reduction, if not elimination, of transportation costs”. Bail hearings are also to be done via this method, the Chief Justice explained.
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