JIS News

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Paula Llewellyn has lauded the proposed amendments to the Jury Act in respect of the number of jurors required to render a verdict in non-capital murder cases.
“Recently the Prime Minister made a proposal in Parliament for the amendment to Jury Act, to allow for the conviction for what could be loosely regarded as non-capital murders by not less than a majority of nine jurors,”
Miss Llewellyn said, during the Regional Conference on the Media and the Caribbean Justice System at the Hilton Hotel recently.
“What that simply means, for matters that were regarded as non-capital murder, you could have for either an acquittal or a conviction, a majority verdict of nine to three, ten to two or 11 to one, and that obtains in other jurisdiction and has for sometime,” the Director of Public Prosecutions added.
Miss Llewellyn explained that under the current Jury Act, all the members of the panel will have to agree for there to be a conviction, whether the case is of a capital nature, (meaning that the death penalty would be one of the options open to the judge) or non-capital murder, where the normal penalty would be life imprisonment and term of years before which parole can be granted.
“Now, in such instances where the jury fails to reach a unanimous verdict presently, the jury is discharged and a retrial ordered. Now the proposed amendment is that, in non-capital cases, a conviction will be returned by not less than nine jurors, and this will also, of course, relate to an acquittal,” Miss Llewellyn said.
She stated that the requirement for a unanimous verdict for 12 jurors will, however, be retained for the capital offence.
The three-day Regional Conference on the Media and the Caribbean Justice System, held at the Hilton Hotel from September 3 to 5, was organised to assist the TV Court/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) project in extending its reach to two audiences, media and legal practitioners.