Senate passes Jury Act
SENATORS YESTERDAY voted to amend the Jury Act, paving the way for what Justice Minister Mark Golding said will be "a significant improvement for the justice system and the way the jury system works".
The bill provides for the enhancement of the jurypselection process by modifying the rules concerning the number of peremptory challenges allowed. It also provides for the trial by the judge alone, where the prosecution and accused so agree; and the statutory protection of employees summoned to serve as jurors against adverse action from their employers.
Golding, in piloting the bill through the Senate a week ago, said the Jury Amendment Act seeks to address the continuing problem of a shortage of jurors to serve the Circuit courts. The inadequate number of jurors has contributed significantly to the delays in the disposal of criminal cases.
If approved by the House of Representatives, the amended Jury Act will allow for the production of an expanded list of potential jurors from a combination of the voters' list and the list of persons with Taxpayer Registration Numbers issued under the Revenue Administration Act, and an array of seven jurors for all jury trials other than for treason or murder, where, on conviction, the death penalty may be imposed.