By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter
Magistrates and support staff of the Magistrates’ Court gathered at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel on Friday for an annual retreat.
The all-day event was focused on professional development for court staff, and also presented an opportunity for staff from all over the country to engage each other on a more personal level.
Lovette Nunez, court administrator for the Magistracy Department, explained that participants were split into groups and were engaged in presentations by various Judges of the Supreme Court.
Topics of discussion included the coroner’s inquest, which deals with the records compiled whenever there is a death that is investigated, be it accidental or otherwise; presented by Justice Shona Griffith. Justice Antoinette Moore presented on the new criminal procedure rules which were brought into effect this year. The new rules seek to increase judicial efficiency.
‘This act is most beneficial who enter into the system’ Nunez said, ‘there’s an actual time frame on how to approach matters that come before the court and the deadline by which they should have been at the disclosure stage, or when they should be by trial, so it means a more efficient and timely manner by which matters are heard and concluded.’
The magistrates also discussed the progression of the efforts to establish a drug court within Belize. She says that both the judiciary and social partners have been working on the necessities and hope to have the court running by year’s end.
‘Honestly, the desire is to rehabilitate so that there is minimum reoccurrence of drug related offences,’ Nunez said.