Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Jury bill passed in Upper House

Published:Saturday | May 28, 2016 | 5:00 AM
Johnson Smith

The Senate yesterday hurried through the bill to amend the Jury Act that will allow guilty verdicts to be passed by a majority of jurors.

The Jury Act 2015 had reduced the requirement for the number of jurors required to try non-capital murders from 12 to seven.

Leader of Government Business Kamina Johnson Smith said that the bill was intended to rectify omissions made in the legislation which came into force on February 1, 2016.

The bill was passed during Wednesday's sitting of the House of Representative, paving the way for yesterday's passage in the Senate.

 

Justice system anomaly

 

Johnson Smith explained that the bill was being hurried to correct an existing anomaly in the justice system.

"What we are seeking to do today is to correct an anomaly that occurred as a result of the passage of the Jury Amendment Bill last year," said Johnson Smith.

She said that there was a clause in the bill which was not adjusted along with other changes that were made.

Expressing gratitude to the Senate for facilitating the passage, Johnson Smith said that the aim was to make provision for the number of jurors required for guilty verdicts in cases of non-capital murder.

As it was at Wednesday's sitting of the House, the bill enjoyed full support of the Senate.

With Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte on Wednesday impressing on the House of Representatives the urgent need for a review of the system, Opposition Senator Wensworth Skeffery warned against continuously reducing the jury pool after the reduction from 12 to seven.

Other participants included Government Senators Charles Sinclair, Pearnel Charles Jr, Ransford Braham and Acting Leader of Opposition Business K.D. Knight.

gary.spaulding@gleanerjm.com