At least one magistrate and another officer of the law have raised concern over the length of time it takes to get cocaine tested or analyzed for drug trials in local courts.
Magistrate Ossie Lewis raised that issue in a recent court hearing. He expressed dissatisfaction in the amount of time it takes to get cocaine tests to be done in order for trials to begin.
Cocaine testing, which according to Police Spokesman Inspector Claude Weekes normally occurs in Barbados since Dominica lacks the proper facility, is often delayed.
“The magistrate was very concerned with respect to how tardy it is when it comes to cocaine cases. He wasn’t amused by virtue of the fact that it takes so long to get the cocaine tested. We don’t have the facilities readily here in Dominica, like some of our sub-region colleagues in the OECS, and the testing is done overseas, predominantly in Barbados,” Weekes said.
“There are several countries sending to Barbados, hence the delay, and that is justifiable but at the end of the day we still have to remember that the defendant or accused is charged and they are expecting their case to be called and it is up to us to prove our case beyond a reasonable doubt,” he stated.
Weekes said that this physical evidence is essential to such court matters hence the importance of speeding up the process.
“To prove our case we have to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt and the physical evidence, namely the alleged cocaine, has to be chemically analyzed or tested by an expert,” he stated.
He continued, “Justice delayed is justice denied. The faster that a matter can be dispensed with it would be better, but like everything else it’s not a world of perfection but we have to work with what we have, but there has to be standards. There must be standards.”