Chief Justice Bryan Sykes is dismissing claims that judges are biased towards prosecutors.
The concerns were raised by a number of defence attorneys in response to the Chief Justice’s declaration that given difficulties spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the courts will utilize more judge only trials.
Justice Sykes was addressing a forum dubbed Conversations with the Judiciary at the Supreme Court in downtown, Kingston today.
Stevian Simmonds reports.
Justice Sykes says since the matter of bench trial versus jury trials came up, there have been several controversial responses.
He says some have even suggested that judges are biased in favour of prosecutors.
Instead, Justice Sykes says conviction rates in some courts are higher where jury trials are used.
The Chief Justice says those arguing that judges are biased have not provided any evidence to support the claim.
He says judges, with years of experience have to make well-informed decisions and provide reasons for them.
But, he says jurors are not required to adhere to such standards.
But, the Chief Justice maintains he’s not favouring one trial format over the other.