Former Prime Minister Bruce Golding called for Jury duty ... And he served

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June 28, 2016
Former Prime Minister Bruce Golding

Former Prime Minister Bruce Golding says all Jamaicans should try to serve as jurors if called upon to do so.

Golding recently served as a juror in a Coroner's Court matter concerning the death of a minor while in the care of the Department of Correctional Services.

Asked by THE STAR why he didn't seek to avoid serving on the jury, Golding said he was told that that could easily have been done.

"Indeed, when we first appeared 12 of us the magistrate asked if any of us would have a difficulty in serving and two persons so indicated and were excused. I took the view that, especially as a former PM, it would be setting a bad example to shirk jury duty," Golding said.

"For some, it will be extremely difficult and they will have to be excused," Golding said, while giving the example of self-employed persons whose income would be disrupted if they are required to serve on juries.

"Generally speaking, we all should try to serve if called upon. We can't reasonably criticise the justice system if we, as potential jurors and an integral part of it, are unwilling to serve," he added.

Golding served as foreman of the jury. It was not the first time that he was been called upon to be a juror but on the previous occasion the law prevented him serving.

Golding told THE STAR that when he was prime minister, he was summoned to serve but had to ask an attorney to inform the court that under the law, sitting members of parliament are not permitted to serve as jurors.

Meanwhile, the former prime minister said that serving on the jury was "a useful experience, although exhausting." He attended a total of 19 sittings. He said, too, that he was very impressed with the quality of the attentiveness of the other nine jurors to the evidence and their thought processes in arriving at a verdict.

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