The High Court of Justice in Antigua and Barbuda has taken the decision to postpone the criminal assizes, previously scheduled to begin on Tuesday April, 21, 2020.
“Under the guidelines of our current state of emergency and in light of the various advisories we have received, we do not consider it possible at this time to proceed with the opening of the assizes, specifically in relation to the conducting of jury trials,” the High Court said in a statement.
Jurors served with summonses to appear at the High Court on Tuesday have been asked not to attend, but to continue paying close attention to media outlets for future notifications.
“We will provide further information regarding that issue as soon as all the various stakeholders are fully consulted,” the statement read.
The court said it is following instructions from its Headquarters in Castries, Saint Lucia which encouraged vigilance in ensuring that all steps are taken to secure the safety of the staff and the general public in this time of the coronavirus pandemic.
This month’s proceedings were likely to bring together a significant number of persons such as jurors, police officers, witnesses, prisoners, defendants on bail and other relevant staff of various agencies.
A fraud case involving the former General Manager of the Antigua and Barbuda Transport Board and the murder of 26-year-old Vincia James were among the cases to be tried by the court.
When permitted, the Court, plans to bring to a conclusion matters where persons may have pleaded or were found guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
“We shall also be working in conjunction with the Office of The Director of Public Prosecutions and members of the criminal bar to schedule matters where pleas or discontinuations are forthcoming. Bail applications will continue being heard via video or teleconference.”