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UPDATE: 'Sometimes it’s good to make a little complaint'– Justice Ellis

- Pleased at efforts to improve High Court conditions for jurors
High Court Judge Vicki Ann Ellis had condemned the discomfort of the jurors. Photo: VINO
The building that houses the High Court of the Virgin Islands is said to be a far cry from the ideal situation despite improved conditions for jurors. Photo: VINO
The building that houses the High Court of the Virgin Islands is said to be a far cry from the ideal situation despite improved conditions for jurors. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Jurors who sat in the recently concluded conspiracy to murder trial of Yan Edwards and Rodney Simmond Jr. spent their final days enjoying improved accommodation and were told by High Court Judge Vicki Ann Ellis that “sometimes it’s good to make a little complaint.”

Earlier in the trial, the jurors had complained to Justice Ellis about their discomfort especially in the room in which they were made to work. They had passed their complaint in writing to Justice Ellis at a stage when they were given the opportunity to pose questions to a witness who was on the stand at the time.

The Judge did not read the complaint aloud in open court but had openly condemned the state of the court and was supported by Senior Crown Counsel Mr Valston Graham.

It was announced on Monday October 28, 2013 that the jurors’ room was outfitted with air-conditioning and the High Court management came in for commendation from Justice Ellis.

Jurors now sitting over the trial of Mr Ian Thomas aka DJ Commodore are enjoying the comfort, however, it is reported that much more is left to be done to improve the overall conditions of the High Court facilities.

See previous article posted October 18, 2013

Justice Ellis laments High Court conditions

-Jurors complain of discomfort

The seating and other accommodations for jurors in the High Court of the Virgin Islands came in for condemnation as jurors complained bitterly to Judge Vicki Ann Ellis during a trial yesterday October 17, 2013.

While the complaint was not read aloud in the High Court yesterday, Justice Ellis acknowledged their concerns about  the conditions they are being forced to endure even though they are performing a voluntary duty. “This is not a court house,” Ms Ellis said as she expressed her disgust at the conditions brought to bear by the jurors.

Issues raised by the jurors reportedly including that of poor air conditioning and seating, among others.

The jurors ceased the opportunity to communicate their concerns with Justice Ellis at a stage when they were given the opportunity to ask questions following the reading of a witness’ statement in the High Court yesterday.

Senior Crown Counsel Valston Graham agreed with High Court Judge Ellis that conditions under which jurors are forced to carry out their duties are a far cry from an ideal situation. He said it was not the first time that jurors had complained.

Some recommendations were made by Graham that are likely to be explored to bring some interim relief to jurors.

14 Responses to “UPDATE: 'Sometimes it’s good to make a little complaint'– Justice Ellis”

  • IslandGirl (18/10/2013, 09:15) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Some of the funds that are being sqaundered can be used to build a judicial complex. In the United States court buildings houses the Magistrate Court, Superior Court and State Court and all of which has a chamber and a clerk office.

    The current court house should be a historic site and not a place where people are being forced to carry out duties under a cramp conditions as though they are in a cattle truck. For Pete's sake this is the 21st century. We should have already had a better court house or judicial complex.
    • Marie (31/10/2013, 10:15) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      The juror/complainant was correct. I have never seen a court where the accused have any access to the jury or spectators until they are in the court room, and even then the accused is sitting far away from them and guards on each side of the accused while the court is in session. After court is over, the accused are escorted out of a different door and taken back to their holding cell without seeing anyone to attack or threaten. Another thing is I do not like the court building being next to the high school. A very dangerous area if something were to go wrong with a prisoner and children were around.
  • yellow (18/10/2013, 11:18) Like (4) Dislike (7) Reply
    After shutting down blogging she wants to shut down the court house?
  • THE INFORMED (18/10/2013, 11:59) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    Well the judiciary system has always been left behind in the BVI
  • pat (18/10/2013, 12:50) Like (6) Dislike (11) Reply
    Somebody need to shut this woman up.
    • @ pat (18/10/2013, 13:26) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
      She has a right to speak so leave the madam alone….
      • ok (20/10/2013, 10:01) Like (5) Dislike (4) Reply
        She has a right to speak, but we don't have the rights to blog! WOW! isn't that a double twisted standard of our rights to free speech! Boi...ah ya give she POWER!! SMH..no wonder our country is sinking.
        • reality (30/10/2013, 12:26) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
          Not the right to blog foolishness & gossip especially as it relates to high profile cases, people's lives are involved!!! .......that's what she is referring to. Some of you people don't realize the damage that can be caused to individuals especially in a small community like ours. I do uphold free speech, but in a respectful manner, not to tear others down.
    • htuel (31/10/2013, 10:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      might we say the same to you> I often wonder if people who supposed to know the constitution when it comes to freedom and what a democratic state means. you have a right to blurt you stuff so does the Honorable Judge. No more no less. She's chosen to do so to help improve facilities and modernize this Beautiful island for all with constructive critique. What do you do besides wanting to shut her up? Can you please try to add substance to the issue at hand.
  • Soon learn (18/10/2013, 18:58) Like (2) Dislike (13) Reply
    So many judges and jurors have worked in the same conditions for years. Come on - get the work done and stop complaining like spoilt children.

    If we were sooooooo wealthy, we will have a courthouse like Singapore but we are far from there.
  • west end (30/10/2013, 11:18) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
    well saw this lady aint easy
  • JACK BE STILL (30/10/2013, 12:56) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    ndp guilty of not doing nothing to help the ppl
  • one eye roster (30/10/2013, 21:21) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    Meen see what all the up roar is about
  • Lucky (04/11/2013, 09:12) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Maybe if some of you were asked to sit in a cramped little room for hours on end, for days at a time with not even a fan you would understand. Its a simple humane request. If they could have walked out I don't think we would have heard anything, but they are forced to sit it out. I don't see anything wrong with the request. Yes others have worked in the room before under the same conditions , but that was their choice. Everyone has the right to request better working conditions, it improves efficiency. We don't want them rushing the verdict simply because they are hot and uncomfortable.


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