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OBA Senator warns ‘it’s only a matter of time’ a serious crime occurs in our courts

Opposition Senator Michael Fahy has called for more money to be spent to improve security measures in the Island’s criminal courts.

“I believe it’s only a matter of time before something terrible happens,” he warned.

Juries and members of the public occupy the same general spaces in the Island courts and criminals pass through the public gallery to the docks, he explained.

“I implore the Government to spend some more money on this issue,” the Senator said.

“We need to spend more time, effort and money securing the premises that we currently have.”

Sen Fahy, who practises corporate law, said he was pleased at the improvements made in the commercial court.

“We now need to see those kinds of improvements in the criminal courts,” he added.

The comments came during the Upper Chamber budget debate on the Ministry of Justice.

The senator also criticised the Ministry’s budgeting efforts noting that the budget for professional services was just over $1 million in 2010 but the actual amount spent ended up being almost $5 million.

This year the spending estimate is $1.2 million but the revised figure is about $5 million, he said.

For the coming fiscal year, only $2.5 million has been budgeted.

Government Senator Kim Wilson later told

The Royal Gazette that the professional services line item now includes funding for the justice protection programme which was included under the category of administration last year.

She added: “The cost associated with the provision of legal services to persons who would not otherwise be able to afford legal representation have escalated, hence the revised figure which reflects the increase costs to legal aid.

“Further it is difficult to estimate what legal aid costs will be, given criminal activity particularly with respect to multiple defendant and serious crimes.”

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Published March 31, 2012 at 2:00 am (Updated March 31, 2012 at 8:41 am)

OBA Senator warns ‘it’s only a matter of time’ a serious crime occurs in our courts

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