A year after legislation has come into effect, seven judge-alone trials have been completed.
A release from the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs stated that the Miscellaneous Provisions (Trial by Judge Alone) Act, 2019 came into effect on February 1, 2019.
It stated that there have been “seven historic, completed judge-alone trials to date, with others schedules to commence.”
The release added, “Accused persons are electing trial by judge alone and the length of these trials are dramatically shorter, demonstrating a significant reduction in demand for judicial resources.”
The types of serious criminal matters being heard by a judge without a jury range from murder, manslaughter, rape, larceny and wounding with intent, the release stated.
It added that significant benefits of judge-alone trials include avoidance of jury intimidation, avoidance of retrials due to hung juries, avoidance of onerous jury service obligated on working class citizens and avoidance of costs and judicial time.
The release stated that the latest judge-alone trial took place on Friday in the San Fernando High Court and was completed in a record 20-minutes.
It stated that the matter was before Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds and the accused was charged with wounding with intent.
The release stated that the incident occurred 18 years ago and the accused was found not guilty after the judge determined he acted in self-defence.