Western News

Duty calls!

MoBay jurors shun St James circuit court...again

BY PAT ROXBOROUGH-WRIGHT EDITOR-AT-LARGE/WESTERN BUREAU roxboroughp@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, April 08, 2010    

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — The Easter session of the St James circuit court yesterday opened to another juror shortage, prompting a call to duty from high court judge Marjorie Cole Smith.

"It is disconcerting," she said in response to information from Acting Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Dirk Harrison that 13 of 90 jurors served with notice to attend court were present at the last count.

A few more — ten at most — stood up when the judge asked them to.

"If you are not here the business of the court cannot go on," she told the group of twenty-odd jurors after thanking them for showing an interest in their duty.

The St James court circuit has been regularly hit with jury shortages over the years.

Twenty-seven cases are scheduled to be tried during the five-week circuit that ends on April 30.

Of those 13 are for murder;

11 for sexual offences;

1 for Causing Death by Dangerous Driving;

1 for Wounding with Intent and

1 for Manslaughter.

Harrison said that he was looking forward to making a heavy dent in the list with the help of the private bar. Attorney-at-Law, Clive Mullings, the former Energy minister and Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) member of Parliament for West Central St James who delivered opening remarks on behalf of the private bar, promised that his peers would cooperate fully with the court with a view to denting the list.

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