Plans made for prosecution stats

The Portfolio of Legal affairs has flagged plans to begin collating case outcomes statistics for all prosecutions it undertakes in Cayman’s courts.

The Caymanian Compass on Thursday reported the Portfolio could not give statistics on percentages of acquittals, convictions and other outcomes in the courts because its computer software did not let it automatically track the information.

But in a response to questions from the Compass, the Portfolio has said it has plans to collate outcomes for both Summary and Grand Court cases in the future. It further emphasised that all individual case outcomes can be accessed and statistics on outcomes can be discovered by checking manually.

‘The Department has a legal registry system, which records the input of every file submitted to us by way of a unique number. Using this number the system also records the interim progress through the Courts through to the final disposition. The outcome of each file is recorded,’ said Information Manager Jenesha Bhoorasingh-Simpson.

‘This applies to both summary and Grand Court matters. For example there were 1,032 files in 2005; in 2006 we received 1,189; 1,365 in 2007 and 1,358 in 2008. These records are always available.

‘However the system is not programmed to collate outcomes and to yield discharge and conviction figures on a percentage basis, although this can be arrived at on a manual check,’ she said.

Ms Boorasingh-Simpson explained that a policy decision was taken in 2007 to begin collating the outcomes generally, but with an initial focus on Grand Court matters. ‘Primarily this was to identify disposal numbers and any areas for improvement,’ she explained.

‘The data was compiled from the LR system as well as finished memorandums. This exercise was completed in early 2008. The 2008 records are now in the process of being compiled and the list will then be available.

‘With the recent grant of access in 2008 to the Courts’ [Judicial Enforcement Management System] software on a read only basis, our task has been made easier as this will serve as a cross reference for greater accuracy and permit the extension of this exercise to Summary Court matters as well,’ she said.

Provisional figures for 2007 Grand Court criminal cases showed that of 67 cases there were 17 guilty pleas, 20 guilty verdicts and 15 not guilty verdicts.

Of the 15 remaining cases, 12 were either discharged or dismissed, there was one hung jury, one defendant died before trial and one matter was left on file.