Antigua Government Defends Decision to Adopt Judge Alone Trials Permanently

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An empty jury box is seen at the New York State Civil Supreme Court in Manhattan, New York, September 11, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Antigua Government Defends Decision to Adopt Judge Alone Trials Permanently

In response to public scrutiny and concerns over the decision to make Judge Alone trials permanent in Antigua, spokesman Lionel “Max” Hurst reiterated the government’s stance, citing the fairness and efficiency of this judicial approach.

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Hurst’s statement comes amidst a wave of controversy and skepticism regarding the move.

“The fairest method by which a judge-alone trial can be determined is if the appeals court determines that the judge did not rule fairly,” stated Hurst, emphasizing the checks and balances in place to ensure the integrity of Judge-alone trials.

He pointed out that this approach has been successfully implemented in various jurisdictions globally, including within the Caribbean region and internationally.

Hurst addressed the issue of potential biases and emotional influences in jury trials, stating, “With a judge alone trial, you get less of that because the judge is going to be cognizant of the law and any breach of the law.”

He highlighted instances from other jurisdictions where the absence of anonymity in jury trials led to perceived injustices, further supporting the rationale behind adopting Judge Alone trials permanently.

One of the key arguments in defense of this decision is the efficiency it brings to the judicial process.

Hurst explained, “When you have a jury trial, the selection of the jurors, the sitting of the jury, and so on consumes far more time than when it is Judge Alone.” This efficiency, coupled with the establishment of a Public Defenders Office, aims to ensure that justice is not only swift but also accessible to all, regardless of financial status.

While acknowledging the controversy surrounding the move, Hurst emphasized that Judge Alone trials have brought “some sanity to the decision-making” and have served their purpose well in other jurisdictions.

He concluded by reaffirming the government’s commitment to a fair and efficient justice system, noting that the decision was made after careful consideration of legal principles and international best practices.

This is what Hurst said at Thursday’s post-cabinet news conference: 

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5 COMMENTS

  1. LOTS OF THOSE JUDGES AND CABINET MINISTERS GO TO THE SAME CLUBS AND DRINK THEIR RED WINES.AM I GOING TO PASS HARSH JUDGEMENTS ON MY DRINKING ASSOCIATES.A JURY PANEL WOULD.

  2. It is a backward and dangerous move and nothing that Mr Hurst says can change that. Jury trials are a vital part of our system of checks and balance. Our system of checks and balance means that the judicial branch of government is equal to the other two branches (the executive and the legislative). Our system of checks and balance requires a strong judicial branch. A strong judicial branch requires a healthy jury trial option. We are setting up dictators in our courts. What is next?

  3. The judge could be the trier of facts but I strongly believe it should be the right of the dependant in criminal case to choose judge alone or jury trial.

    While in civil matters, the plaintiff should have the right to choose judge alone or jury trial.

    If this law takes away such rights, as described here, I am completely against it.

  4. THIS CANNOT BE DONE IT IS UNLAAWFUL.

    LEGISLATION MUST MEET THE BASIC TRESHOLD OF LAW AND THIS IDEA WILL NOT MEASURE UP TO THE BASIC TRESHOLD….

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