The prison video link is now fully operational.
The first to utilize the technology was Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson, who, Barbados TODAY understands, conducted five bail hearings last Friday.
Sitting in High Court No. 7, he heard applications from five prisoners who have appeals pending but applied for bail in the meantime.
The Chief Justice reportedly said the technology “worked well” and “clearly improves the efficient operation of the court”.
“Ten minutes would be the most, if so long,” he said of the time each application took to be heard.
Assistant Superintendent of Prisons Cedric Moore and the inmates were able to see inside the courtroom. Similarly, Principal Crown Counsel Elwood Watts and the Chief Justice could see the room at HMP Dodds during the hearings.
One prisoner made submissions at a time and was removed before another prisoner entered the room.
The Chief Justice further explained that the prison video link can and will be used “for any hearing where the defendant is not required to be in the courtroom”.
In cases involving appeals, trials, arraignments, the prisoners’ physical presence will continue to be required in the courtroom.
Chief Justice Gibson said another advantage which the technology provided, was minimization of the time prison officers had to spend beyond their normal workday waiting for the completion of bail applications.
As a result, a reduction in the “significant overtime bill” is expected.