JP: Court backlog a danger to T&T
Justice of the Peace Ackbar Khan has said the backlog of cases in the country's criminal courts "is a danger to the country".
Speaking with reporters after the National Awards ceremony at Queen's Hall, St Ann's, last Friday evening, Khan urged the government to deal with the matter.
Khan, 81, has been a JP for the past 49 years.
He was awarded the Humming Bird Medal (Gold) and he expressed his concerns about the state of specific aspects of the justice system in Trinidad and Tobago.
"The backlog in the courts is a danger to the country. We have nearly half a million cases in the High Court and more than 100,000 warrants. We need more judges, more magistrates, more lay magistrates. If we don't move in that direction, we ain't going nowhere," Khan said.
He said he now has 12 to 15 murder cases in the High Court and two kidnapping cases at the Tunapuna Court that have been going on for ten years.
"Are we really moving forward?" Khan said.
He said in addition to the need for more judges and magistrates, there is also a need for "strong prosecutors".
"Not lawyers who qualify just three, four years and to fight against no Senior Counsel. That annoys me," Khan said.
He said he has done over 500 high-profile murder cases in the High Court.
"And one thing I can tell you, Ackbar Khan never take a penny from nobody. And that's important. I maintained my character and I'll live with it," Khan said.
In addition to being an outspoken JP, Khan is also known for the number of decorative lights that covers his home at Christmas.
He said his house will have over a million lights for Christmas this year instead of the 500,000 lights which lit his home last year.