BVI News

High court trials affected as judge quashes territory’s ‘defective’ jury list

The building that houses the High Court in Road Town, Tortola.

Citing several defects to the current register, Justice Ann-Marie Smith on Monday ordered that the High Court’s list of potential jurors from across the territory be quashed and a new list drafted.

This move now affects several high-profile matters before the court.

Among the issues she outlined was that only one juror was listed from the territory’s sister and outer islands.

“Unfortunately the court finds that the Registrar has continued the practice that was used by successive registrars. [This practice] was highlighted and frowned upon by the Privy Council. The court is also of the view that failure to include persons from the sister islands and not to include persons — which falls under Section 7 [of the Jury Act] — can be viewed as a defect,” Justice Smith said.

The judge said the flaws to the list remained despite her pointing out the inconsistencies earlier this year.

“There is no explanation that has been provided to this court that an effort was made to properly remedy the error and deficiencies that were raised in July of 2019; despite the opportunity to do so,” the high court judge further argued.

Jury duty must be evenly distributed

In the meantime, the High Court Judge said: “The burden of the jury service needs to be distributed evenly and equally between all persons liable to serve.”

“The court at this stage will squash the [jury] array in the interest of justice,” she then concluded.

Concern was raised about the jury list while the matter involving murder-accused Andraes Norford of St Kitts was mentioned in court. Norford is accused of fatally shooting Melbourne Francis in Long Look, Tortola on May 9, 2013.

It is further alleged that Norford received $13,000 to commit the crime by the now-deceased Jefferson Joseph, who was also gunned down sometime later.

With the jury list now disposed of, Norford’s and other trials have been pushed to next year. A new jury list is expected to be completed by January 17.

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  1. BUYING TIME says:

    why wait until court ready to start to do this. Struppes. That woman need to go. She’s doing everything to stay in our little Tortola. Time for her to be sent back to Jamaica

    Like 9
    Dislike 18
  2. Really says:

    Wow! What a waste of valuable time. The Judge probably needed a long vacation

    Like 4
    Dislike 9
    • Agree says:

      She only buying time to stay on longer. Court was closed for sometime why now? plus who gonna pay all the cost for me to come from Anegada stay in a hotel? leaving my children business ext. This woman really need to depart.

      Like 5
      Dislike 12
  3. Jury says:

    Only belongers can vote! Only belongers can be on jury!

    Like 2
    Dislike 2
  4. Retired says:

    Jurors from the sister islands should be compensated by the court for their travel expenses between islands.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
    • ***** says:

      All jurors are compensated for travel to court daily. The further from the court house you live, the more compensation you get.

  5. Common sense says:

    If the highest Court in the BVI legal system (the Privy Council) said that the old system of jury selection was defective and needed changing, then it is ridiculous that this was ignored by the Registrar. Failure to change would have rendered any verdict liable to appeal, so wasting even more time and money in the longer-term. It is the Registrar who must take the blame for just being lazy.

    Like 32
  6. Only in tola tsk says:

    Wait let me count almost 7 years and this case not dealth with. wtf

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
  7. well hmph says:

    2013 case still pending before jurors

    Like 11
  8. damn rite says:

    i got people elected 3 and 4 times. Makes no sense.

  9. FREE SHAM says:

    She definitely needs to go or serve some time herself…

    Trying to make an example of our local young men by giving Sham 26 months for handling stolen goods, which was his first offence…while giving the Vincy man a pat on the back for murdering his wife.

    Like 3
    Dislike 7
  10. Facts says:

    Did you know people actually link with their inside contacts to get on the Juror List.

    This has been going on for ever

  11. Niko says:

    They also have people in jury seat sitting on case for them boyfriend

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