DPP urges Jamaicans to report for jury duty when summoned
Paula Llewellyn

SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — With a dismal number of people reporting for jury duty when summoned, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn is calling on members of the public to serve the justice system when called.

"First of all, I would appeal and implore all Jamaicans, when you get your jury summons, please, please, it is a very important duty as a citizen because you are the standard behaviour of what is appropriate behaviour in your communities," said Llewellyn as she addressed members of the media following a verdict handed down by a six-member jury in the Westmoreland Circuit Court last Friday.

The jury returned a guilty verdict in the case of a 17-year-old boy who was charged with raping, buggering, and murdering a nine-year-old girl in 2018.

The DPP referred to the start of that circuit court in which less than 13 people turned up for jury duty. They were used for the nine-year-old girl's case and another.

"We had a problem at the beginning of the circuit. We really only had not more than 12 or 13 jurors, but we were able to do two cases and, of course, the volume of cases is a little bit over 200. That is why I had to have three of us [prosecutors] here," argued Llewellyn.

This is the first major full jury sitting in the circuit since the resumption of jury trials on April 20, following a two-year break as a result of measures put in place to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"We did one before in respect of the 80-year-old woman who had been... raped and at the end of her evidence, the accused throw in the towel, very noble, and pleaded guilty. So we weren't able to go the full length in respect of the jury coming to a verdict, but this perhaps is one of the first matters going full length since the return of the jury from the pandemic," said Llewellyn.

Anyone between the ages of 18 and 70 with a Tax Registration Number or anyone who is registered to vote in Jamaica can be summoned for jury duty.

Jurors receive a stipend of $2,000 for each day they have been empanelled for a trial.

Anthony Lewis

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