A total of 27 cases involving young offenders are before the Children’s Court at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.
The matters are being heard in accordance with the rules and laws of the Juvenile Justice Act.
In October 2018, the Children’s Court was commissioned to provide reform rather punishment for young offenders under the age of 17.
The cases that are presently before the court speak to young offenders in crimes such as murder, manslaughter, attempted murder, discharging a loaded firearm and other petty crimes.
The cases are presided over by Magistrates Dylon Bess and Annette Singh. Both magistrates had received training in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States (US).
The offenders are placed into the custody of Juvenile Holding Centre at Sophia and the matters are held in camera away from the public. A probation officer and a child protection officer are attached to the court and are present at each hearing. The Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) is also involved in the pre-screening of juveniles.
One of the first murder cases being heard at the Children’s Court involves two fifteen-year-old boys who are accused of killing a 45-year-old drug addict.
The two teens are being tried by paper committal for the murder of a man identified as ‘Buckman’ who was stabbed at Leopold and Lombard Streets, Georgetown on November 17, 2018.
The police had reported that on November 17, about 22:45 hours, “Buckman” and the three teens were involved in an argument because he stopped buying drugs from them.
One of the accused allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed the man several times before making good his escape. After the stabbing, the 45-year-old man was rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
Last week, a 17-year-old youth was charged with manslaughter before Magistrate Bess and was placed into custody at the Sophia holding Center.
It is alleged that the teen unlawfully killed his friend 21-year old Mervin Squires as a result of a $500 gambling debt.