8 Dec 2003

Solomon Island courts faces explosion of cases

5:03 pm on 8 December 2003

Solomon Island courts have seen an explosion of cases since the arrival of the Regional Assistance Mission, or Ramsi, in late July.

The Chief Magistrate of the Solomons, David Chetwynd, says the average number of cases before the Magistrates' Court has risen from about 75 to 300 a month, and from two or three to 10 in the High Court.

He says many cases are also very serious, but it is only possible to remand suspects for 14 days between hearings.

And he says the population has high expectations of the judiciary, which are not always easy to deliver on.

"Unfortunately, we in the judiciary performed very well throughout the whole period of the troubles, from 1999 onwards. So now people expect us, now that the troubles are over, if I can put it like that, to be even better and of course its very difficult. But yes, I think we can cope. It's not going to be easy and undoubtedly there will be one or two time when something goes wrong."