Mr. Amado Chan
18 July, 2012
Judiciary of Belize
Charles Evans Hughes said, “We are under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is, and the judiciary is the safeguard of our property and our liberty and our property under the Constitution”. The legal system that Belize has is the judiciary and it is an independent branch of the government. Independent from government influence so that it does protect the rights of the ‘small’ people in society (Trueman).
One of the fundamental legal protections that the constitution has towards criminal defendants are a presumption of innocence until proven guilty; the rights to be informed of the nature and particulars of the charges, to defend oneself before an independent and impartial court within a reasonable amount of time, and to have the hearings and trial conducted in public; and guarantees against self-incrimination and double jeopardy. In more serious criminal cases, the defendant also has a right to a trial by jury (Belize-Judiciary). Belize has a magistrate’s court in all districts that have authority in less serious civil and criminal cases. On the other hand, the Supreme Court is in charge of more serious criminal cases, as well as any substantive legal questions.
With the unparalleled increase in number of violent crimes the courts are not enough to deal with the cases. Before the augmentation in the number of judges, the available judges had overtime, accumulated a number of reserved judgments as they struggle with the growth in the court’s pile of fresh cases and applications that were increasingly listed before them before hearing. It is totally understandable that accusers and their attorneys get anxious and frustrated for being kept waiting for judgments after the conclusion of their cases. Hon. Chief Justice Abdulai Conteh said, “Justice delayed is justice denied” is without a question, a universal lament that has haunted and continue to...