PRINCIPAL Magistrate Jim Seuika yesterday raised concerns again on the delay of cases due to absences of lawyers in the Honiara Magistrates’ Court.
He said it seems that the Public Solicitor’s Office prioritise high court matters than those in the Honiara Magistrates’ Court.
He expressed his concern after vacating the trial of a juvenile because he has no lawyer to represent him after his lawyer went on leave.
“It looks like the delay of most cases here are because of the absence of lawyers because they attended High Court matters,” Mr Seuika said.
He said lawyers should also prioritise their matters in the Magistrates’ Court as well rather than only prioritising matters in the High Court.
“Any matters listed in the Magistrates’ Court must be prioritised even though there are High Court matters.”
Public Solicitor Douglas Hou when contacted on this issue said the PSO office is not like before where they have many office advisers.
He also said lawyers keep resigning from the PSO and the office could not deliver the service as it does in the past.
“We cannot blame anyone and this is the reality we are facing,” he said.
In relation to the case on which the trial was vacated because the lawyer went on leave, he said it is a very short notice for any lawyers to step in for the trial.
He said this is something that is beyond their control.
Mr Hou said their attendance to criminal cases depends entirely on the availability of lawyers.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN