The jury system needs to be abolished not reformed
I have written twice over the past year urging that the jury system should be abolished. On the first occasion several lawyers, including the Attorney General, disagreed with the views I expressed. On the second occasion I repeated my views in an article publicizing the remarks of Chief Justice Ivor Archie of Trinidad and Tobago urging that the jury system be reviewed. His remarks were supported by two of the most outstanding jurists of the Caribbean region, retired Chief Justices Sharma and de la Bastide of Trinidad and Tobago. The latter is also retired President of the Caribbean Court of Justice.
Two events received publicity during last week. The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions reported that for the last Criminal Assizes which commenced on January 15 and ended on March 28, 25 matters were completed in Demerara, Berbice and Essequibo. 18 matters were presented for Demerara. In 2 the DPP entered nolle prosequi (withdrawal of prosecution). In 5 matters there were guilty pleas to lesser offences. Of the remaining 11 that went to trial there was only 1 guilty verdict.