Judge alone trials are ensuring that justice is no longer delayed, and dispensed swiftly.
According to a release issued by the Office of the Attorney General, the most recent judge-alone trial was conducted on Friday 31st January 2020, at the San Fernando High Court.
The release states that it was completed in a record 20 minutes, by Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds. In the case in question, the accused was charged with wounding with intent for an incident that occurred 18 years ago. The AG’s Office said the accused, who was found not guilty after the judge determined that he acted in self-defence, left the court in tears. Justice was finally done.
The AG’s Office reports that the Miscellaneous Provisions (Trial by Judge Alone) Act, 2019, came into force on February 1st, 2019. It says since then, there have been seven historic, completed judge alone trials to date, with others scheduled to commence.
According to the AG’s Office, accused persons are electing for trial by judge alone and the length of these trials are dramatically shorter, demonstrating a significant reduction in demand for judicial resources.
The types of serious criminal matters being heard by a judge without a jury range from murder, manslaughter, rape, larceny and wounding with intent.
The AG’s Office points to significant benefits of judge alone trials, namely: avoidance of jury intimidation; avoidance of retrials due to hung juries; avoidance of onerous jury service obligated on working class citizens; and avoidance of costs and judicial time.
Story by NEWS DESK