Fri | Jan 18, 2019

11 jurors hit by chik-V

Published:Friday | October 10, 2014 | 9:16 AM

Eleven of the 12 jurors in one of two murder trials now before the Home Circuit Court have suffered chikungunya-like symptoms.

The case being affected is that of Jason Johnson who is charged with the 2008 murders of two persons on Slipe Pen Road in Kingston.

Last week Thursday the case was adjourned until Monday because a juror was sick with chikungunya-like symptoms.

When the case resumed on Monday it had to be put-off again because another juror came down with chik-V.

In court yesterday, presiding judge Justice Carol Lawrence Beswick enquired how many jurors had not been affected by chikungunya.

Only one juror responded.

There are complaints about mosquitoes in the court and last week the judge directed that the room be sprayed.

However, within days the mosquitoes were back in the courtroom.

This week, jurors complained that mosquitoes were in the jury room.

Meanwhile, the other murder trial before the Home Circuit Court, involving two fishermen charged with the 2004 murders of three children was also affected by chik-V.

Yet another juror in the case was ill with chikungunya-like symptoms.

The judges in both murder cases have remarked that they are taking every step to ensure that the trials are not aborted because of the virus.

Last week, senior puisne judge Gloria Smith, who is presiding at the trial of the fishermen, opted to adjourn the case to allow a juror, who was sick with flu-like symptoms, to recover instead of discharging the juror and allowing the trial to proceed with 11 jurors.

The law allows for only one juror to be discharged from a murder case.

If for any reason another juror has to be discharged, the trial will have to be aborted and an order made for a retrial.


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Jamaica Gleaner

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