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CJ Pereira calls for judge-alone trials in region amid COVID-19 era

- said courtrooms are often too small to accommodate jurors due to social distancing protocols
In light of the challenges being faced by the COVID-19 pandemic, Her Ladyship, Hon Dame Janice M. Pereira has suggested judge-alone trials in courtrooms across the Eastern Caribbean. Photo: VINO/File
Chief Justice, Her Ladyship, Hon Dame Janice M. Pereira, the time is ripe for all governments in consultation with civil society to engage in discussions for the implementation of judge-alone criminal trials for specific case types within the context and framework of the constitutional mandate of fair trails within a reasonable time. Photo: Facebook
Chief Justice, Her Ladyship, Hon Dame Janice M. Pereira, the time is ripe for all governments in consultation with civil society to engage in discussions for the implementation of judge-alone criminal trials for specific case types within the context and framework of the constitutional mandate of fair trails within a reasonable time. Photo: Facebook
CASTRIES, St Lucia- In light of the challenges being faced by the COVID-19 pandemic, Her Ladyship, Hon Dame Janice M. Pereira has suggested judge-alone trials in courtrooms across the Eastern Caribbean.

“The simple truth is that many of our courtrooms are too small and in some cases not enough,” she said on Wednesday, January 13, 2021, during the virtual ceremony marking the opening of the new Law Year.

“In the COVID-19 environment, it is impossible to have jurors sit elbow to elbow. The question then becomes what is the solution to this dilemma? In my view, the time is ripe for all governments in consultation with civil society to engage in discussions for the implementation of judge-alone criminal trials for specific case types within the context and framework of the constitutional mandate of fair trails within a reasonable time.”

Judge-alone trial can work

To further drive her point home, Chief Justice Pereira said judge-alone trials have proven to be effective.

She explained: “Judge-alone trials are not new in our region, this move has enjoyed much success in reducing the case backlog in the neighbouring state of Trinidad and Tobago as well as in Belize. It is also being practised in the Cayman Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

“I have no doubt that in this COVID-19 climate, in particular, the implementation of judge alone criminal trials would go a long way in reducing the backlog of criminal cases in the Eastern Caribbean with no impact whatsoever on the fairness of such trials,” she pointed out.

While the ceremony was held virtually across all member states, the venue was at the Castries SDA Church in St Lucia.

8 Responses to “CJ Pereira calls for judge-alone trials in region amid COVID-19 era”

  • in agreement (14/01/2021, 09:25) Like (6) Dislike (2) Reply
    Judge alone trials are the way to go. We should have been doing this from long long time ago. This will help to ensure justice is best served. The average juror tend not to grasp legal concepts or fully appreciate their role. That and the fact that many persons simply don't want to or cannot afford to give of their precious time to be jurors.
    • To in agreement (14/01/2021, 11:38) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      "The average juror tend not to grasp legal concepts". You are wrong on that point because legal concepts or issues of law are mit for the jurors. That's why whenever a legal issue arises in a trial, arguments are done in the absence of the jurors. Their role is limited to the evidence led.
      • Bout Time (14/01/2021, 19:28) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
        I would love to think that this would be a lot better. Now you don't have to worry about who knows who and who like and dislike you.
    • To: In Agreement (14/01/2021, 14:50) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      You couldn't have said it any better! I totally agree
  • vex (14/01/2021, 10:31) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply

    One bias judge then we dead dead

  • @ vex (14/01/2021, 19:27) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    One bias judge? What happened to 9 bias jurors.
    Trial by judges.
  • thank god (14/01/2021, 19:31) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    The jury system in small communities like the VI should have been abolished long time. It had to take Covid to make this happen. Lord help we. Thank you lord.


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