April 30, 2008

National vs Regional Court ( T&T)

Volney: Govt is favouring CCJ
Wednesday, April 30th 2008

Source: Trinidad & Tobago Express

THE debate over the amount of money spent behind the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) entered the Hall of Justice yesterday, when Justice Herbert Volney complained about the malfunctioning public address (PA) system in the Port of Spain Second Criminal Court.

Volney said the PA system in the High Court had not been working for the past five years, but the CCJ had a system where you could hear "a pin drop".

He made the statement after the 12-member jury complained about not being able to hear the testimony of police constable Kishaa Mungroo.

Mungroo took the witness stand yesterday in the murder trial of Anthony Mc Carthy, who was fatally shot near his mother's Laventille apartment on May 16, 2006.

Two men, Ijah Oba Braithwaite and Marlon Taitt, are accused of shooting to death the 47-year-old former URP foreman, who was also a State witness in the April 2005 shooting death of his nephew, Oba Jones.

The debate over the Caribbean Court of Justice (Headquarters) Bill, 2008 originally took place in the Upper House, where the bill was passed and then at the Lower House last week. Many opposition ministers and senators critised Government for pumping millions of dollars into the court, since the judges had very little work at this stage, since the court was yet to be accepted as the highest court in most Caribbean countries.

The CCJ, under its original jurisdiction, is the final court of appeal for all trade matters within the 15-member Caribbean Community (Caricom). It also has an appellate jurisdiction as the final court of appeal for Guyana and Barbados at this time, as other Caricom member states like Trinidad and Tobago are yet to replace it with the United Kingdom's Privy Council.

During his testimony, Mungroo said he took several swabs of Taitt's hands a few days after the fatal shooting of Mc Carthy and it showed he did not shoot a gun.

State prosecutor Jerron Joseph also had tough luck with his second witness, police officer Michael Alleyne, when Volney ruled Alleyne's testimony as inadmissible.

Joseph then called police constable Randy Ramjag as his third witness for the day.

Defence attorneys Selywn Mohammed and Ulric Skerritt represent the two accused men. The matter is expected to continue today. -JJ

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