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ADDRESS OF THE HON. CHIEF JUSTICE, SIR ISAAC HYATALI, T.C. - page 11 / 17

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as the rules of Court require him to do, the case cannot be placed on the list for hearing nor can it be properly described before then, as pending a hearing before this Court. And notwithstanding what is glibly represented to the contrary, by some spurious statistics, the Court’s records show that there is at the moment no civil case filed with it which has not been allocated a date of hearing and there is certainly no case so filed which is awaiting a date of hearing for either 2,3,4,5,6 or 7 years. In fact, the oldest civil case before us, according to the advice given to me, is one filed on 14 April 1977 and it is on the list still only because it was ordered to be heard de novo by another court.

POINTS RAISED IN ONE OF THE DAILIES Four points have been drawn to my attention in one of the Dailies of 24 September, for which I am most grateful. The first is that one Faustin Gabio was placed in custody at St. Anns 22 years ago to await his trial and he is still so waiting. The second is that an average delay of between 18 months to 2 years between committal and trial for a criminal offence is an ‘absolute disgrace’; thirdly, that there are interminable delays in the hearing of civil cases; and finally, Courts should not in the face of the situation disclosed go on vacation for 2 ½ months each year.

THE GABIO CASE Sections 66 to 70 of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance Ch. 3 No. 4 govern the custody of insane persons. In the Gaol Delivery of June 1978 there is no record that any one by the name of Faustin Gabio is being detained at St. Anns. If he is, however, then it is to be assumed that he is confined there during the President’s pleasure, which means that as soon as he becomes sane he will either be brought to trial before the Court by the Director of Public Prosecutions or freed if the Director of Public Prosecutions enters a nolle prosequi against him. If he is being detained unlawfully, then habeas corpus proceedings should be instituted by him or some one on his behalf.

I would agree that 18 months to 2 years between committal and trial is unreasonable, and that it is most unreasonable if the person is in custody during that period awaiting trial. Releasing such a person on bail even if the offence charged is not bailable, is one

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