Delay in transcript leads to release of two men


The issue of  significant delays in the production of  transcripts from criminal trials in the Supreme Court, has resulted in two men who were convicted for crimes being set free by the Court of  Appeal.

The Court declared that the constitutional rights of  the men were breached because of  the delay.

In one instance it overturned the conviction and sentence of  one of  the men as redress for the breach of  these rights.

Both decisions were handed down yesterday, and could have implications for the administrative aspects of  the justice system going forward.

In one case, a man who was convicted for the sexual assault of  an 11-year-old girl had been convicted by a jury in 2013.

He filed an appeal that same year, but the matter was not heard until July 2021.

In this appeal, among other things he argued that his rights under Section 16 of  the Constitution were breached because he should have been given a copy of  the record of  the proceedings within a reasonable time, and that his case should have been reviewed by a superior court within a reasonable time.

It was further argued that while the transcript of  the Judge's summation was available, the Notes of  Evidence which contains the evidence that all the witnesses in the trial gave, was unavailable.

The Court of  Appeal agreed and made the declaration that his rights were breached, but it went further.

Based on the circumstances of  the case, the Court ordered that as redress for these breaches it would quash the conviction and sentence of  the man, which means he was to be released from prison immediately.

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