A departmental criminal court could see the light of day in New Caledonia in January 2023

Experienced for three years in fifteen departments, a departmental criminal court should be set up on the Caillou next January. A new jurisdiction that leads to significant innovations in the judicial world. Objectives: to speed up the course of justice that is too slow and to save money.

There are already criminal courts in a dozen metropolitan and overseas departments. A jurisdiction of this type could be created in New Caledonia.

1 What would be the jurisdiction of the departmental criminal court?

The criminal court “will be able to judge the rapes, the mortal blows, the armed robberies, explains Christian Pasta, Advocate General at the Nouméa Court of Appeal. These are all offenses which are subject to penalties likely to be less than twenty years of criminal imprisonment.

2 Would she be called upon to judge many cases?

“Here in New Caledonia, out of the stock of files that we currently have for the Assize Court, it is still 86% of the files that are likely to be judged by the Criminal Court which would be established in New -Caledonia”he continues.

3 Who would make up the criminal court?

If it sees the light of day in New Caledonia, the departmental or territorial criminal court will not be composed of citizens drawn by lot, called jurors, but only of professional magistrates.

4 Why create such a court?

“The courts of assize are courts that are very cumbersome to handle because there are jurors with relatively long judgment times”says Christian Pasta. This system of departmental criminal courts therefore has the major aim of relieving congestion in the courts of assizes. The legislator considered that one could sit “these departmental criminal courts, much more often, in a much less cumbersome way than with jurors. Because jurors are not professional magistrates, so there is a whole apprenticeship to be done to them”he explains.

Before specifying: “We find ourselves in a situation where the legislator wanted to speed things up, to judge faster. I’m not saying to judge better. I’m saying to judge faster and obviously to make economies of scale in relation to investment. Because that the jurors, they obviously have to be compensated, housed, fed for a month of assize session and that is at the expense of the State.

After the experimentation of the criminal court, which takes place in several departments, a report will be submitted before October 31 next for a generalization of the criminal courts on 1er January 2023.

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