JIS News

A Bill to amend the Jury Act, so as to enable the Registrar of the Supreme Court to make appropriate arrangements for the serving of summonses on jurors, was passed in the House of Representatives yesterday (Jan.13).
The legislation, which will remove from the Commissioner of Police, the responsibility of serving such summonses, also seeks to widen the pool of persons from which jury lists may be compiled, to include holders of Taxpayer Registration Numbers (TRN). The jury age has also been increased from 65 years to 70 years.
Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, in his remarks in the House, said the decision to compile the jury list from the TRN pool, is because the number of persons on the TRN list is “considerably greater” that those registered as voters.
“The number of persons registered as taxpayers was 1.8 million. Included in that number of course, are corporate registrations, but even if you discount for that . the number of persons registered as electors is between 1.3 million and 1.4 million,” Mr Golding said. “Therefore, there are some benefits that are to be gained by providing a broader pool from which the jurors can be selected,” he added.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister said he has asked the Attorney General to review some of the exemptions from the jury list. Currently, members and spouses of members of the Cabinet, the House of Representative and the Senate; judges and spouses of judges; custodies; mayors and deputy mayors; councillors; civil servants; attorneys-at- law (practicing); ministers of religion, who follow no secular occupation; medical practitioners in actual practice; and school teachers; are exempted from jury service.
“Once you exempt all of that I don’t know where that 1.8 million potential database goes. I have referred the matter to the Attorney General and the exemptions are being reviewed, because some of those exemptions will have to be removed,” the Prime Minister stated.