Trinidad justice minister eyes trials without juries
One way to help clear up the backlog of cases waiting to be tried, says Volney.
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Wednesday June 27, 2012 – Lamenting the backlog of cases that is presently causing the pace of justice to be delayed in the local courts, Minister of Justice Herbert Volney said that trials without juries are one way to help clear up the backlog in Trinidad and Tobago’s judicial system.
The minister made this point on Monday morning as he addressed the Commonwealth North Atlantic Law Ministers Meeting in Port-of-Spain.
Volney said the present backlog is such that it would take about 10 to 15 years for juries to hear the over 200 cases that are presently waiting to be tried.
He added that many jurors served reluctantly and it was cheaper to have trials heard before a judge alone. He also noted that lawyers were less likely to waste time before a judge as they might before a jury.
Pointing to India and Belize as examples of places where trials are heard before judges and without the benefit of juries, Volney explained to journalists after his speech that there were also places in the Commonwealth where such systems work.
India instituted trials without juries in 1959 and last year Belize legislated to have a similar system instituted in its courts.
Law ministers from 15 countries attending the two-day workshop in Trinidad, which was convened in commemoration of the country's 50th year of Independence. The meeting included participants from the United Kingdom, Canada, India, New Zealand and Jamaica.