by Linda Straker
A number of persons who were summoned to serve as jurors, were recently fined for failing to turn up in the court for selection in matters presently before the September Assizes.
“Yes, some were fined and others will be fined for failing to be at the court after they were summoned to serve,” said Christopher Nelson, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
This action by some jurors contributed to a rape matter being dismissed, because a total of 30 jurors are required for the pool before the selection of persons, and on more than one occasion, the number of jurors who turned up was less than the 30. A decision cannot be made to go ahead with a matter without the 30 jurors in the pool, because it would be a violation of the law.
According to the 2015 Jury Bill which went into effect on 1 March 2016, a person, having been duly summoned to serve as a juror —
- does not attend in obedience to the summons at the first sitting of the court and at every adjournment thereof upon being openly called in court;
- does not answer upon being openly called in court; or
- departs from the court during its sitting without leave of the Judge and without reasonable excuse,
the court may impose on him or her a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars.
Where a person having been duly summoned to serve as a juror —
- refuses to serve when required by the court to do so; or
- having been duly sworn, without leave departs from the court before he or she is properly discharged,
the court may impose on him or her a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars.
It is understood that besides the rape matter, other matters are affected because of the failure of jurors who were summoned, to not comply with the request.