Tue | Sep 25, 2018

Chuck:We try to protect our jurors!

Published:Tuesday | August 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMCarlene Davis/Gleaner Writer
Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck touring the partially renovated Court of Appeal Building in downtown Kingston recently.

Persons being called to serve as juror need not worry about their safety, Justice Minister Delroy Chuck has assured.

"Once they are empanelled, we try to provide them with as much security at least in the precincts of the court," Chuck said in an interview with The Gleaner, during a recent tour of the renovated Court of Appeal building in downtown Kingston.

The minister said in Jamaica's jurisdiction, the system depends on jurors obeying the instructions of the judge not to interact with persons on trial. The alternative would be to seclude them, but he thinks most jurors would not welcome that idea.

"It is very untidy what is happening. Jurors may have to take the same bus or intermingle with accused persons, especially serious offenders who are on bail. It is something that we have tried to avoid, and as you will appreciate, the judges instruct jurors not to have any interaction with the accused or his family. They must be very careful. We have to really depend on the good sense of the jurors to try and keep away from any interaction," said Chuck.

Chuck said he is aware that jurors are most time approached by persons trying to bribe them, and he would hope that they would let good sense prevail and report it.

"We have to be a country of integrity. Our people must be honest with themselves, and do justice. You can't do everything for greed and for money, and it is a fact that some jurors may have been bought out, but we just have to ask jurors to stand up for what is right." said Chuck.

carlene.davis@gleanerjm.com