Ja lacks jurors

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Jamaica Home Circuit Court is facing an acute shortage of jurors.

Monday, Supreme Court Judge Carol Beswick made an impassioned plea for the few jurors who were present to tell their friends to attend court when summoned to do so.

“There is an insufficiency of jurors and I can say so without fear of successful contradictions,” the judge said.

Last week Monday, Justice Beswick had to put off a murder case because of insufficient jurors.

In response, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General A.J. Nicholson had said in a statement on Tuesday that sufficient jurors were at court. However, several defence lawyers had said it was not true.

The judge made the comments yesterday after only 40 jurors were available for jury service and 12 of that number were empanelled last week in a murder case which continued yesterday.

After 11 jurors were selected from the 28 jurors, the judge had to recall three jurors who she had excused because they had said they could not sit beyond Friday because they had urgent matters to attend to. After she had discussions with them, one of them decided to sit and was not challenged by the lawyers.

The judge asked the jurors to spread the word and let their friends know that they needed to come to court to serve. “We have to come together to ensure that there is justice in Jamaica land we love, ” the judge said.

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