Former Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune staff Reporter
THE Office of the Attorney General released its 2014-2017 report of its activities and initiatives Friday, revealing steady improvement in its functioning across several metrics.
With respect to trials, the conviction rate for accused persons has steadily increased over the past several years, for instance, rising from 31 per cent in 2012 to 67 per cent in 2016.
The conviction rate for murder was 72 per cent in 2016.
The report notes that there are now ten criminal courts operating in the Bahamas’ Supreme Court, up from six in 2012.
In 2012, the Supreme Court released a list of 100 criminal cases without dates, the report notes.
The Office of the Attorney General responded by reviewing the matter and found 44 more such cases.
A nolle prosequi was entered for 71 of those cases while the other 73 will proceed to trial.
“These nolle prosequis have been entered for matters that have little chance of proceeding successfully, clearing the system of ‘zombie cases,’” the report notes.
Embracing technological advancements, the Office of the Attorney General moved to allow witnesses outside the jurisdiction or in Family Islands to provide evidence through videoconference.
There has also been a transition away from paper documents and photographs, with more use of digital projections.
The technological transformation impacted other institutions that fall under the remit of the Office of the Attorney General as well. At the Registrar General, for instance, it became possible to apply and renew Notary licenses online in 2016, an act that has reduced delays.
In 2016, the Registrar General’s Department also launched the Companies E-service initiative, which allows users to reserve company names, incorporate regular Bahamian companies, order company documents, file company documents, execute searches and pay annual fees, among other things.
The report said: “With the implementation of the Companies E-Service the (Registrar General Department) has seen an increase in revenue and improvements in incorporation turn-around times. From July 2016 to November 2016 the Companies Section collected $7,822,830.50 with the new electronic system compared to only $3,824,920.67 during the same period last year before the e-service initiative launch.”
The report was created by Joey Gaskins, who works in the Office of the Attorney General.