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Replacing a working system a bad move

Published: 
Friday, March 17, 2017

I really can’t see any real or logical reason for the urgent desire to scrap the trial by jury system. This is a democratic nation where the jury system has always been an essential part of the legal apparatus.

Abolishing the trial by jury system could be yet another mistake made by politicians lacking in foresight. I know that the main reason being put forward for this locally is that there are at present, too many delays in trials where juries are being used.

However, there have been no complaints from other nations using the jury system to support this accusation.

Almost all countries in the world use the jury service within their legal systems successfully.

I am, however, fully aware that there also are a few nations using a panel of judges at trials. These nations are, however, not corrupt and have been classified as fully developed with no perpetual high rate of serious crimes as is now prevalent in this country. The use of a panel of judges appear so far to be successful.

If the hidden complaint is that juries are being got at by offering bribes, then this underhand practice could also be used on a panel of judges with more drastic results for the nation.

We cannot, in a nation where corruption has become one of our main issues, rely either on a group of citizens acting as juries or a panel of judges to bring about the correct verdict in cases where the defendants are wealthy or of high profile.

The only remedial solution to the present problem is to introduce more severe vetting of potential juries; reduce the numbers of citizens within the jury make up; and have a time limit by which to arrive at a verdict.

We should not readily divert from a system that has been well tried and tested within the legal system over centuries. Doing so in T&T could be just another step which will sooner rather than later lead to turning this nation into a dictatorship.

GA MARQUES