British Virgin Islands

Thursday, Nov 26, 2020

Gov’t looking at abolishing jury for some High Court trials

Gov’t looking at abolishing jury for some High Court trials

In the new legislative year, the government will be seeking to make several amendments to the current Jury Act to improve the justice system in the BVI.
In delivering the Speech to the Throne on November 5, Governor Augustus Jaspert said the government will “seek to examine the powers of a [High Court] judge as it relates to jury trials”.

“The review will explore the question as to whether some trials can be heard by a judge without a jury to allow the expediency of justice in the territory,” Jaspert stated.

The Governor also said the Jury Act will be reviewed to enhance the selection of jurors and to establish a jury register.

Many problems have been cited with the current jury register.

Back in October 2019, Justice Ann-Marie Smith — after citing several defects to the current register — ordered that the High Court’s pool of potential jurors from across the territory be quashed and a new list drafted.
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