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AG plays down prospect of referendum on juries

Attorney General Ryan Pinder.

Attorney General Ryan Pinder.

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Chief Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

ATTORNEY General Ryan Pinder downplayed the possibility of eliminating jury trials after prominent former and current judges emphasised the benefits of such a move.

“I don’t see the government putting forward a constitutional referendum,” he said yesterday.

A trial by jury is a fundamental constitutional right.

 During an event at Baha Mar marking the Eugene Dupuch Distinguished Lecture’s 25th anniversary last week, Court of Appeal president Sir Michael Barnett, KC, said jury trials should either be reduced or eliminated. 

 He and other judges, including Chief Justice Sir Ian Winder, KC, former Chief Justice Sir Brian Moree, KC, and former Chief Justice Sir Burton Hall, shared a preference for bench trials versus jury trials, citing efficiency, among other things.

 Sir Brian noted that in countries like Trinidad, accused people have the right to elect a trial by jury or a trial by a judge –– a possible option here if the government avoids a constitutional referendum on the topic.

 Yesterday, National Security Minister Wayne Munroe said a task force is being established to “look at this whole issue of trials” and how to make them more efficient and quicker.

  He said task force members would include himself, Sir Ian, representatives from his ministry, the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Bahamas Department of Corrections and the Bar Association. Participants from the Official Opposition and non-profit groups may also be included. Mr Munroe said the government wants to staff the task force by the end of April.

 Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis recently lamented that people’s unwillingness to be jurors impedes the justice system.

 “Many Bahamians don’t want to serve,” he said. “We talk about swift justice, but we need to encourage people that when they’re called upon to provide service, to do so as part of their civil duty. But then anytime they see their name, they go try to make excuses to be excused.”

 Mr Davis said solving crimes isn’t the issue, noting someone is arrested or charged in 90 per cent of murder cases. He said the “elephant in the room” for many years is having the necessary court resources.

 He said trials used to finish much quicker.

Comments

Sickened 4 months ago

Come on AG - do something to benefit the Bahamian public.

ExposedU2C 3 months ago

This will take our legal system to a whole new level of corruption of the most frightening kind. The one thing our corrupt political ruling class cannot stand more than anything else is our Constitution and the protective rights it gives all Bahamians. A-holes like dumber than dumb AG Pinder and our corrupt PM Davis seem hell-bent on taking away the most fundamental rights of the Bahamian people.

The corrupt political ruling class now fear the dumbed-down D- educated jurors that their own failed education policies created in the first place.

It seems Pinder and Davis no longer consider the many D- educated in our society to be their peers when it comes to jury trials. All right thinking Bahamians should be screaming for a better public education system and for their constitutional rights to be fully preserved and not in any way watered-down by the granting of unconstitutional choices that should never be allowed to exist.

This guy Pinder is truly a certifiably devious nutzoid of the worst kind.

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