One of several murder accused trapped in legal limbo following chief magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar’s ascension to the High Court and subsequent resignation, yesterday begged for some clarity and...
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Abolish jury trials, wigs
As a citizen of T&T I would like to express my support for the abolition of jury trials.
As pointed out in recent articles in the print media, trial by jury is a very time consuming and costly affair and usually results in the acquittal of the accused.
This is clearly the case with murder trials as the statistics show the actual number of guilty verdicts are about one in ten or ten per cent of cases.
This also means that nine in ten accused are found not guilty and are out on the streets again.
This does not mean that they are innocent but simply that their well-paid lawyers were able to beat the system either by way of a technicality or a compassionate juror.
This is a big money business for many lawyers who take advantage of the legal system for personal gain and contribute to the mushrooming of serious crime in the country.
I have been called to jury service twice and was part of a jury once where I was able to witness first-hand the shortcomings of the system and personal biases of fellow jurors resulting in hung juries and acquittals.
In my opinion the present approach to jurisprudence in T&T is in serious need of a major overhaul and replacing the jury system with judges can only help to improve the system of justice for all the people in this country.
Having said that, I would like to temper my support for the abolition of juries conditional upon the honourable judges working hard to reduce the perception held by many that they are too refined and pretentious and not in touch with the man-in-the-street issues.
They can start by abolishing those ridiculous wigs they sometimes wear.