The St Matthias Magistrates’ Court is going digital with the receipt Wednesday of Liberty Court Recording Software from the United States (US) embassy.
The new digital audio/video recording programme, which comes at a time when the authorities have been complaining about a backlog of cases, is expected to improve the recording of court hearings, expedite hearings, and ease the workload on stenographers.
The system will also facilitate prison video links and other bail and testimonial hearings from remote locations. It includes a range of features and is able to record and playback multiple channels of audio and video.
An excited Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson, an advocate for greater use of technology in the judiciary, said the new system should make the court system more efficient by eliminating uncertainties such as delays experienced when transporting inmates to the court for hearings.
“A few weeks ago we had some problems where the buses had some problems and they were arriving at the courts late and that was pushing back the courts’ list. So this equipment certainly goes a long way towards alleviating that problem,” Sir Marston said.
The Chief Justice said he looked forward to the day when such facilities would be available in all magistrates courts across the island, something Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite promised would become a reality by the end of May.
Director of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs at the US Embassy Drew Blakeney said the digital recorder was intended to modernize the judicial system and make it more efficient.
“It is a small investment but that we hope will benefit everyone here in Barbados, and certainly the judicial workers,” Blakeney said.
He said Government could save on transportation cost by eventually linking police stations, the prison and courthouses.
“You don’t have to go through the trouble of secure movements, spending money on gasoline. This can even potentially enable things like witness testimony from other countries, in which case the cost savings can be big,” he said.
Chief Magistrate at the St Matthias Court Christopher Birch and Registrar of the Supreme Court Barbara Cooke-Alleyne both welcomed the new software, saying they were especially excited that it would ease the pressure on stenographers.
“I want to assure everyone it will be used properly for the peace and good governance of the court,” Birch said.