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Jan 18, 2010

CJ presents record breaking number of cases for 2009

And while the Police Department says crime was down for 2009, the court calendar reflected an overwhelming figure of cases dispensed of in 2009 by nine justices. At today’s opening the CJ presented the alarming figures which included the backlog of cases in the court system.

Dr. Abdulai Conteh, Chief Justice

“In that year a total of one thousand one hundred and sixteen cases were completed. These numbers include divorce petitions of which two hundred and fifty-five were filed in 2009 and two hundred and fifteen were disposed of in the course of the same year.  The year however, saw a surge with the number of cases filed in the Supreme Court for the first time in Belize.  The numbers exceeded one thousand cases, reaching a final tally of one thousand and fifty-four cases.  The increases, no doubt, underscore the increasingly litigious nature of Belizean society in an environment in which people are being ever more conscious of their rights and ready to use the court system to vindicate their claims. Long may this be so; it’s better than the rule of jungle.  On the criminal side, the Supreme Court disposed as well of one hundred and ninety-one cases tried on indictment for 2009.  The spiraling crime rate has resulted in the Supreme Court for the first time sitting in this criminal jurisdiction almost simultaneously in the three districts of the Central, Southern and Northern. For the same period the Court of Appeal heard a total of seventy-one cases in both criminal and civil appeals.”

The Chief Justice acknowledged the Magistrates who bear the brunt of the criminal workload.  In 2009 alone over fifteen thousand criminal cases were lodged in the Magistrate’s Court, twelve thousand of which were dealt with.

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