Barbados is exploring the possibility of implementing judge alone trials here and is awaiting further dialogue on the issue with members of the judiciary and the Bar Association, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Dale Marshall, has said.
Speaking after the swearing in of the island’s fifth Chief Justice, Patterson Cheltenham, by Governor General Dame Sandra Mason, Marshall indicated that the matter was first raised by former chief justice Sir Marston Gibson, who retired before it could be properly explored.
However, the attorney general noted that one advantage of a judge alone trial is that it would eliminate the need for a jury.
“A lot of time and effort is spent by the judge reviewing the evidence, giving directions to the jury so the jury can then go away and deliberate,” he said.
Marshall said in contrast, having heard the evidence; a judge would be in a position to evaluate the evidence and give a decision, thereby eliminating the time that was spent dealing with a jury during a trial.