FEWER THAN 50 of the approximately 800 persons summoned for jury duty turned up for yesterday's opening of the Michaelmas session of the St James Circuit Court.
High Court Justice Lloyd Hibbert, who presided over the session, urged the jurors to remember that they serve an important role in the administration of justice in the courts.
"We hear constantly about the backlog of cases ... . This is because we do not have jurors," said Hibbert.
"The system is like a chain, and like any chain, if a link is broken, the whole chain is broken. If we have a breakdown in the administration of justice, what we will have happening is that people take the law into their own hands, and that is something we cannot afford at this time."
Hibbert noted that some persons have taken up the practice of applying to be excused from duty because of illness, and that such applications only come when they are called to serve on jury duty.
"We have noticed that persons are ill on the first day of the Circuit Court, and the illness lasts until the last day of the Circuit Court. But for those who gave that application, I will be looking at it carefully," Hibbert advised the jurors.
"You will not be excused until I have looked at them (applications), and some persons will not be excused if the reason is not sufficient," he added.
A total of 38 cases were on the roster at the start of yesterday's opening day. Of those cases, 21 related to sexual offences, 12 murders, four injury matters, and one death by dangerous driving.