Antigua and Barbuda High Court of Justice
RE: HIGH COURT CRIMINAL ASSIZES
As you are aware the Caribbean region and the rest of the world have been paying close attention to the spread of COVID-19. In light of this, we have received communication from the Court’s Headquarters in Castries, Saint Lucia encouraging vigilance in ensuring that all steps are taken to secure the safety of the staff and the general public who utilize the court services.
It is important to note that The High Court of Justice in Antigua & Barbuda is due to commence criminal assizes on Tuesday 21st April, 2020. These proceedings are 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. 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. We will provide further information regarding that issue as soon as all the various stakeholders are fully consulted.
Therefore, jurors served with summonses to appear at the High Court on Tuesday 21st April 2020 are asked not to attend, but to continue paying close attention to our various media outlets for future notifications.
It should be noted however that the Court, when permitted, shall endeavour 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.
We join with Her Ladyship, the Hon. Dame Janice M. Pereira, Chief Justice, The Honourable Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda Gaston Browne, The Honourable Steadroy Benjamin, Attorney General and Minster of Legal Affairs and the Government of Antigua & Barbuda in encouraging persons to remain vigilant and stay safe at this time.
Deputy Registrar, High Court of Justice