Magistrates, Judges to soon get access to central database to help with sentencing

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A consultant has been retained and the government is moving ahead to design and later implement a central database where Judges and Magistrates will be able to access the criminal, social, health and other records of a citizen to help with deciding on appropriate sentencing or orders.

The government spent $4.4 billion in 2022, and has allocated $6.2 billion in 2023 for the enhancement of the justice sector, which is intended to expand access to justice countrywide, while also addressing existing challenges in the system.

“Work has begun,” Attorney General Anil Nandlall told the News Room on Tuesday.

He said he recently met the consultant on the project and went over models and work has commenced with international assistance from several countries.

“We are implementing technology programs and platforms to ensure more efficient management of judicial activities including the managing of cases effectively,” Nandlall explained.

He said the central database will allow for strategic linkages between the judiciary and other important state organisations that are considered vital to the administration of justice.

“IT will link the judiciary and the prison service, the judiciary and the Guyana Police Force, the Ministry of Legal Affairs, the social services ministry, the DPP Chambers… all of these are vital players in the legal sector.

“… also, the Probation Department, counselling officers and welfare officers,” he added.

Nandlall said the government will be keen to ensure confidentiality but more importantly access.

“Magistrates want to know the record of someone to determine sentence or order and this database will help those judges or magistrates to get relevant information, he added.

Additionally, an E-Litigation Programme for the Court of Appeal and the Georgetown High Court, as well as a Case Management System for the Magistrates’ Courts are intended to go live in 2023. Towards these and other initiatives, $1.5 billion is budgeted in 2023.

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