Attorney-General Allyson Maynard-Gibson said since the 2014 amendment to the Juries Act, there has already been success in the court system.
During her contribution to the Senate debate on the Juries Amendment Act and the Parliamentary Elections Bill last week, the attorney general said amendments are set to enable the court to notify potential jurors and select juries using a modern e-business solution designed by a young Bahamian entrepreneur.
“The registrar of the Supreme Court will be supported by a team of 10 jury selection administrators who have been recently employed,” she said.
“These 10 young enthusiastic public officers will be able to contact prospective jurors using modern methods such as by telephone, fax and email. The bill enables the use of computers rather than ping pong balls and name for random jury selection. The e-business solution is designed so that 480 people will be randomly selected from the approved list. From the pool of 480 people 48 will be randomly selected for each court. At the commencement of the trial, 12 or 15 jurors will be randomly selected from the pool of 48.”
Ms. Maynard-Gibson said the new computers will track which jurors are currently sitting in a trial. She said it will enable easy deployment of available jurors to other courts as and when necessary. It will also enable jurors from the Family Islands to be called for jury duty.
“We are giving more of our citizens including those from the Family Islands the opportunity to serve as jurors,” she said.
“Persons will serve for a period of two months. It is expected that with our new system no juror would serve more than once every three years. Madam President we have in the past used a very small pool for our random selection. This resulted sometimes in bailiffs having to find jurors from the streets or resort to using persons who have essentially become professional jurors.”
Mrs. Maynard-Gibson said combating crime is everybody’s business. She said jury duty is a privilege and civic duty and is also an opportunity to actively restore respect of Christian values and the Rule of Law.