With no jury, we can kiss justice goodbye
CHIEF Justice Ivor Archie has suggested trial without a jury might well be a reality in this country. I find it more than coincidental that the same suggestion is being given consideration by countries of the European Union. Mr Archie’s position derives “in part out of a concern that jury trials were becoming lengthier, expensive and unmanageable and that the quality of justice received was questionable.” Only the last of these considerations should serve to influence such a radical change and it is a claim that must be supported by measureable objective scientific evidence made available for careful public scrutiny.
Trial by judge without a jury raises serious ontological issues, not only of appointments to the Bench, but on the more fundamental question of the underpinnings of local jurisprudence, by replacing deontological principles with “political positivism”. “Voir dires” is as vitally important to the appointment of a judge or magistrate as it is to the appointment of a juror.
Overt State involvement in the appointment of US Supreme Court judges trivialises the impartiality of their adjudications because of built-in political bias that reinforces the pre-eminence of the political state. Their decisions can be reduced to nothing but the execution of a political agenda. Here too, the division of powers is nothing but a myth and to dispense “justice” through state-appointed judges (without a jury) is to open every citizen to the force of the State. Both situations represent a fascist shift.
Logic would dictate that the elimination of a jury is the first crack in the armour of the last remaining vestiges of social justice. A system premised on accepted inequity can never be just. To suggest that a single judge possesses wisdom that supersedes the collective “wisdom of the multitude” (12 peers) is to further solidify the case for inequity and to advance the cause of an aristocratic oligarch. I beg that we do not ever tread that path!