7 News Belize

Trial Without Jury Needs No Constitutional Amendment
posted (May 13, 2011)
And one controversial new anti-crime measure that the government says does not require a change in the constitution is the trial without a jury.

PM Barrow justified this measure by explaining that it is in common usage worldwide:…

PM Dean Barrow
"If there is anyone among us or anyone out there who does not admit that jurors are easily intimated in the current climate, so a person is beings obtuse. Or worst, deliberately malicious. Look at the question of murder cases, all you need is for one person not to agree. 11 may say guilty, one person may say nit guilty and that's it. You can't convict and it is the easiest thing in the world for the criminals to either buy off somebody on the jury or and this is what is far more common - intimidate somebody on the jury or threatened the family members of somebody on the jury, so while trail with a jury is an ancient practice, the truth is Mr. Speaker that in modern times and in a society such as ours I have absolutely no hesitation in saying that the time to end this trial by jury has come. No question, we are in a fight for Belize against the criminals. The provisions have been adapted from the UK criminal justice act 2003 and the criminal procedure amendment bill 2011 of Trinidad and Tobago. More and more in the Commonwealth on Nations to which we belong countries are moving away from trial by jury. In the Far East all Commonwealth countries - all countries that belong to the Commonwealth of Nations as we do. India - done away by jury trials. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Van Watu, Singapore, Malaysia. In Africa; Botswana, Kenya, Kiri Batwi, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Swazi Land, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia. So there is nothing peculiar about what we are doing, even in the UK, they don't have it as automatic provision ion certain cases but there is provision for trail without a jury in fraud cases or cases where there is a danger of just tampering."

As we noted at the top, all the proposed Constitutional amendment will now have to go through a 90 day public consultation process….

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