Feb 10, 2020 News
– while appealing sentence for client serving 66 years for murder
In Guyana, there is no system in place for testing a juror’s reading and writing abilities before they are allowed to sit.
Prominent defence counsel, Glen Hanoman, believes this is a major flaw in the jury selection system.
He is suggesting that the judiciary implement a literacy test for jurors. He made reference to Trinidad and Tobago where jurors are asked to read a written oath. The lawyer said that those caught fumbling on words would be discretely asked to stand down by the trial Judge.
The same cannot be said for Guyana. The oath is read to them by the judge’s registrar. Hanoman made these assertions last week as he presented arguments in an appeal filed by his client who was convicted and sentenced to 66 years imprisonment for murder.
During the court hearing before Chancellor of the Judiciary Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Justices of Appeal Rishi Persaud and Dawn Gregory, Hanoman contended that the trial judge in the case misdirected the jury.
The misdirection, he argued, had to do with the manner in which the trial judge advised the jury on how it should treat the testimony of a Pathologist who was deemed an expert witness.
The State Prosecutor, however, countered his argument by saying that even if such was the case, it was not a grave misdirection as the jurors were allowed to form their own opinions, since they were given medical records to peruse during deliberations.
Hanoman interjected that not all jurors can read and write, and therefore would be unable to consider the contents of items tendered during a trial such as medical records, caution statements and other important pieces of evidence.
Hanoman’s assertions did not rest well with the Chancellor. She told him by making such statements; he was insulting the intelligence of jurors who are selected from all different occupations.
The Chancellor said that being employed as a cleaner does not mean that one cannot read and write.
The regulations governing the selection of jurors and the empanelling of a jury can be found in the Criminal Law (Procedure) Act.
Specifically, Section 20 states that a person shall not be qualified or liable for jury service if they cannot speak, read and write English.
Dec 05, 2021Kaieteur News – Ultra Shine Auto Body workshop has supported the four-team softball cricket tourney which is set for today at Lilliendaal.Proprietor of the workshop, Naranjan Gopie, Friday...
Kaieteur News – I have known Bryan McIntosh for a few years now because we live in the same compound. I got to know... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]