BVI News

Report blasts long delays in Magistrate’s Court

The Magistrate’s Court in the territory has been facing extended delays, which have raised concerns about its effectiveness.

A recent report by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) identified significant issues within the justice system that are causing these delays.

These delays are affecting the timely delivery of justice and eroding public trust.

According to the HMICFRS report, several factors exacerbate the court’s inefficiencies. These include a lack of resources, inadequate staffing, and insufficient funding.

The report revealed that delays were caused in many cases because the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force could not serve summonses on defendants. “Being able to expedite the service of summons would shorten the time it takes to conclude court proceedings,” the report stated. It added that other delays could be avoided, such as adjournments to seek legal advice.

A particularly concerning aspect was the delay in juvenile cases, which should be prioritised given the vulnerable nature of the defendants. The report noted that delays in juvenile cases took more than 500 days on average.

“In 2021, the time taken to conclude a criminal case reduced from 589 to 424 days on average, and the time taken to finalise traffic cases reduced from 243 to 220 days on average. Juvenile cases took 503 days on average, and while this is an improvement, it is still too long a period for a young person to be in the criminal justice system, given that proceedings should be expedited in cases involving youth offenders,” the report stated.

Meanwhile, the report criticised the lack of free legal representation or advice for defendants in the Magistrate’s Court, which is only provided if the case is going to the High Court. “During our review, we noted that cases could be adjourned several times for the defendant to obtain legal advice,” the report added.

Defendants and their families have occasionally voiced their grievances regarding the endless delays, which they argue amounts to a denial of justice​.

The HMICFRS report recommends urgent reforms to enhance the efficiency of the Magistrate’s Court. Suggested measures include joining with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and initiating weekly administrative meetings to review cases listed for trial.

At these meetings, the report said cases should be prioritised and those not ready for trial identified.


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  1. Don't understand. says:

    Magistrate always late. Always prosponing for personal reasons. These people who is on big salary no matter if they work or not should have some kind of performance measuring stick, They are getting easy tax payers money and we not getting value.

    Like 13
  2. Resident says:

    It’s interesting how the report focusses on lack of funding; when the BVI Government has taken in billions of dollars of revenue since the 1980s.

    I wonder where those funds went?

    I suppose they were all spent on the fine physical infrastructure we have like our roads and waste management facilities.

    Like 12
  3. WELL says:

    Well if the issue is that the police need to serve summons on time then the police forcce need to bulk up the prosecution department.

    All those new officers and non to spare to execute summons faster?

    where yall keeping them?

  4. What!!! says:

    “Lack of funding “
    Then stop all the first class travelers, top hotels and restaurants along with useless expensive concerts and parties.

    Like 15
  5. Place a joke says:

    But we have 36k a month to rent office space from HOA members though.

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  6. Making Waves says:

    My husbands case relating to a boat accident has been stuck in the magistrates court for far too long. We just want justice. We love the BVI and want keep living here.

  7. ... says:

    Willfullness as they dont care about criminals thry string them out but some are not guilty

  8. maria louisa varlack says:

    is there a problem with the united nations headquarters in the british virgin islands?

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