Inmates will provisionally attend court from inside Her Majesty’s Prison in Balsam Ghut on Tortola.
Prison inmates will be tried at the facility while the government works to get a proper courtroom operational.
All the courthouses in the territory were severely damaged during the hurricanes.
“In order to facilitate prisoners on remand awaiting trial to attend criminal proceedings, the House of Assembly passed the Audio Visual Link Act 2017 which will allow prisoners to attend court proceedings from their location at Her Majesty’s Prison,” said Governor Augustus Jaspert who is responsible for the penitentiary.
“This is a welcome innovation in the territory’s judicial system and will ensure a more efficient handling of criminal matters in both the Magistrate’s Court and the High Court,” he added.
Temporary court structure
Meanwhile, a temporary facility is being constructed on Tortola to host other court matters.
The temporary courtroom will be used while ‘extensive reconstruction’ is done on the main Magistrate’s Court at John’s Hole.
“To address the more immediate needs of re-establishing the criminal court, the House of Assembly has graciously agreed to share their chamber so that the Magistrate’s Court can resume on February 20,” the Governor said.
The courtroom on Virgin Gorda was also damaged and government is awaiting funding to repair that facility.
“I appreciate the continued patience of our Virgin Gorda residents who have matters before the courts,” Governor Jaspert said in a recent media release.
Since the hurricanes, court matters involving persons who were freshly arrested are being heard at a makeshift facility at the Road Town Police Station.
Two additional venues have now been declared as Magistrate’s Courts – the Ritter and Quastisky buildings.
Those new venues will be used to hear traffic, civil, and quasi matters.
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