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We object! Cornwall Bar Association reacts judge's remarks to jurors

Published:Friday | February 27, 2015 | 10:45 AM

The Cornwall Bar Association is objecting to remarks made by a Supreme Court Judge to jurors after they returned a not guilty verdict this month in a bigamy case in the Westmoreland Circuit Court.

In a statement issued yesterday, the Association stated that Justice Martin Gayle's comments had called into disrepute the very jury system on which the criminal court system was based.

The bar association disclosed that the judge had described the verdict as disgraceful and ordered a probe to ascertain if the jurors were reached. 

It said further that the judge's directive to the jurors to go and never return was an unwarranted abuse of a group of men and women who had fulfilled their civic duty to serve as jurors.

And association president, Michael Erskine, noted that the judge had also instructed the registrar of the court to communicate copies of the written evidence to the Canadian Embassy.

Erskine said the Association believes that  if the criminal justice system is to retain some semblance of integrity, it is vital that jurors are treated with respect before, during and after they are asked to return a true verdict.

Justice Gayle had made certain comments on February 10, when Ian Samuels was acquitted by the seven-member jury of charges of bigamy, uttering forged documents, conspiracy to uttering forged documents and possession of  forged documents.

Samuels, a Jamaican, was accused of marrying a Canadian woman while he was still married.