Montserrat’s current practices as it pertains to managing sexual offenses cases involving minors will be used as a template for the Sexual Offence Model Court to be set up in Antigua & Barbuda at the end of the month.
Justice Iain Morley Q.C. who is responsible for the courts on Montserrat and Antigua & Barbuda said Montserrat is “ahead of the game. Well done to the Director of Public Prosecution and his office.”
Morley has been asked to head up the Model Court on the neighbouring island.
Montserrat already has in place a National Child Safeguarding Protocol and the Children Care and Adoption Act 2016 which established best practice for the care and protection of children and young people in Montserrat.
The policies include standards on preparation for pre-trial interviews with police and allows for remote witness participation via audio visual link in court trials. This, Justice Morley said, helps to avoid retraumatisation of the victim in sensitive cases.
“The standard is here,” he said and in six months time he hopes there will be “notable progress in relation to sexual abuse trials” promulgated across the OECS.