The jury system is a legal system for determining the facts at issue in a criminal law suit. In Jamaica the government and court system affects the jury system immensely. As said by former minister of justice and security, Mr. K. D. Knight, in a gleaner article published Wednesday February 21, 2011, there is no intention to abolish the jury system, with that said the jury system can only be reformed. In the issue of the gleaner published on 6 July, 2013 the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions said: ‘the Government must move quickly to fix the jury system as a shortage of persons to serve as jurors is a major contributor to the low case disposal rate in the nation’s courts.’ The DPP also recommended that the daily payment to persons serving as jurors be increased. The jury system needs to be reformed because of the following reasons: The jury system can be bias, jurors are not showing up to perform their civic duty and the jury system is too cumbersome and slow which makes it expensive to maintain. There are several solutions to these problems; these solutions were developed by the ministry of justice in a meeting about improving the jury system. Some of the solutions are: Working in tandem with the Court Management Service to develop a campaign to encourage citizens to perform their critical civic duty – jury service, lobbying the ministry of finance for an increase of the daily stipend paid to persons who perform their jury duty, review the list of people who are exempt from jury duty among others. This topic was selected so the researcher could gather information on the topic at hand and the researcher hopes to find proper solutions to the problems plagued by the jury system.
Critically asses the court and jury system in the island of Jamaica. Come to a conclusion on whether the jury system should be abolished or reformed.
To determine whether the jury reaches perverse decisions after deliberation. To explore whether there is a perception of bias by members of the public in relation to the jury and how this affects the ability of the courts to effectively serve justice. To make recommendations in relation to whether the jury system should be reformed.
Information for this research paper was obtained from newspaper articles and questionnaires. On 11th and 18th of January 2014 the researcher visited the Kingston National library. On the 30th January, 2014 at 9AM – 10AM 50 questionnaires were issued to students, teachers and other Jamaican citizens at the university of the West Indies Mona campus. Upon collecting the questionnaires the researcher went home and tallied the statistics. On the same day the questionnaires were issued out the researcher went to the Norman Manley law school library to get further information on her topic at hand.
1 Gender F□ M□
2 Age Group: 18-25
Student□ Lawyer□ Other (please specify) □ 4 Do you know what the jury system is?
5 Have you ever been summoned to serve jury duty?
4 a. If no what was your reason?
6 Is the jury system biased?
7 Is the court system of Jamaica reliable?
8 Have you ever experience a court case, whether in person or via mass media? Yes□ No□
9 Should the jury system be reformed?
10 Would you like to be a juror?
11 Are you on the voters list?
12 Does the government affect the jury system?
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