Jamaica: The justice system needs to evolve – Sykes

Despite being a relatively peaceful parish, murders rank high on the list of 80 cases down to be tried in the Easter session of the Trelawny Circuit Court, which had its ceremonial opening in Duncans on Monday, minus the traditional ceremony, which was bypassed in keeping with the COVID-19-inspired Disaster Risk Management Act.

The session, which will be presided over by Chief Justice Bryan Sykes and is slated to span four weeks, sees the cases broken down as follows: 19 murders, 21 identity theft, 11 rapes, nine having sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16, five cases of death by dangerous driving, and two cases of incest.

In his opening remarks, Sykes made it clear that he was not an advocate of the jury system, which allows persons without legal training to make critical decisions. He intimated that the trained professionals should be at the forefront in the decision-making.

“You have judges who have to have a number of years of experience before they are appointed, and attorneys who need certain qualifications to practise. Yet, all a juror needs is to be able to read and write,” said Sykes.


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