Govt considers giving bench or jury trial choice

ATTORNEY General Ryan Pinder.

ATTORNEY General Ryan Pinder.


Tribune Staff Reporter


ATTORNEY General Ryan Pinder said government might consider changing the status quo of the judicial system so people could choose between bench and jury trials.

His comment came after the current and three former chief justices emphasised the benefits of bench trials last week, highlighting their efficiency, among other things.

Mr Pinder said last week that the Davis administration is unlikely to host a referendum to remove the constitutional right to a jury trial.

However, he said yesterday: “I think giving that option in law is a feasible approach, and that’s a proven approach. In Trinidad, they did the same thing. To abolish jury trials, you need a constitutional referendum, and I don’t see us pursuing that. But providing options in law, I think, is something that we could consider, and we’d be happy to speak to both the judiciary about that as well as the defence bar to get their opinions.”

 In 2013, the Constitutional Commission recommended that the automatic right to a jury trial in the Supreme Court be removed.

 “The argument was that jury trials had the tendency to be arbitrary and unfair, in addition to the administrative evils associated with it,” the report said.

 “The commission agrees that the criminal justice system would be better served if there were not an automatic right to a trial by jury when charged on information in the Supreme Court. In our view, the constitution should authorise Parliament to prescribe by ordinary legislation the exceptional circumstances in which criminal matters may be tried by a judge alone.”

 At that time attorney General Allyson Maynard Gibson supported the commission’s conclusion.


hrysippus 3 months, 2 weeks ago

A bench trial has many obvious advantages however to work correctly it needs members presiding over the Bench that skilled in the law and incorruptible. To achieve this a huge amount of money needs to be spent to create adequate facilities, and the compensation paid must rise to attract the best of the legal fraternity. When deciding whether such an eventuality will actually occur it is best to consider past performance of the various factors involved.

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.

John 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Maybe a tribunal trial, but a one judge trial will obviously lead to justice being fingered in its most vital parts. The country is too small not to come in contact with judges known to defendants or some being disliked or showing favoritism

John 2 months, 1 week ago

And yes, many citizens fear serving on the jury. A recent caller to a talk show said he served on the jury in a murder case. One of the accused got a 13 year sentence and another got a 19 year sentence. But he saw one of them in a public area a few months later. On making further enquiries he discovered tge men appealed their sentences and were out on bail.

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