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IMPACT Justice concludes mediation training for magistrates, host lecture on Trial by Judge Alone or Jury: The Commonwealth Caribbean Position 

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – One judge and ten magistrates were presented with Mediation Certificates on Friday, September 24, 2021, at the conclusion of the Canadian government-funded IMPACT Justice Project’s Mediation Workshop for Judicial Officers.

At the workshop’s closing and certificate presentation ceremony, Justice Barry Carrington and the island’s ten Magistrates received high praise from Saint Lucia based Mediation Trainer, Urban Dolor for their commitment to the training, enthusiasm and willingness to embrace the new concepts of mediation which many of them are eager to start using in their courts.

The closing ceremony, marked the end of five days of intense basic mediation training which was held in two segments, the first from July 28 to 30 and the second from September 23 to 24.

Professor Velma Newton, CBE, SCM, Regional Project Director of the IMPACT Justice Project chaired the closing and in her closing remarks thanked the participants for taking the time to participate in the face to face sessions. She noted that the training was only the second such workshop organised by IMPACT Justice for Judicial Officers, the first being for Parish Court Judges in Jamaica in 2018.

Chief Magistrate Ian Weekes closed the proceedings by delivering the vote of thanks on behalf of the participants. He expressed his sincere gratitude to the director and staff of the IMPACT Justice Project for organising the workshop, and commended the trainer and coaches, Miles Weekes, Anthony Howard and Victor Felix for an enjoyable and informative workshop.

Meanwhile, The Canadian government-funded Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT Justice) Project hosted a lecture on the topic Trial by Jury or Judge Alone: The Commonwealth Caribbean Position on September 27, 2021.

His Lordship, C. Dennis Morrison, OJ, CD, QC, President of the Court of Appeal of the Turks and Caicos Islands and Former President of the Jamaica Court of Appeal gave the lecture and Julian Rogers, MBE, managing director of the Jamaica Observer served as moderator.

In his presentation, Justice Morrison traced the development of jury trial for serious criminal offences, the systems perceived shortcomings, and the growth and increased reliance in many jurisdictions on judge-alone trial.

The learned judge also considered some of the arguments in favour of judge alone trials which he noted include, inter alia, that judges sitting alone are less likely to be improperly influenced by material they access that is pertinent to the trial or the accused; a judge sitting alone is easier to protect from threats or intimidation than a jury; and because judges are obliged to give reasoned judgments, they more readily satisfy society’s increasing emphasis on transparency.

The lecture also featured a question and answer segment in which viewers were permitted to seek clarification on the points raised in the lecture and provide their own experiences with either regime. Judicial Officers, Attorneys General, Attorneys-at-Law, Public Prosecutors; the staff and students of the Counsel of Legal Education’s Law Schools and others were invited to tune in to view the proceedings, which were streamed live on UWI TV from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Professor Velma Newton, CBE, SCM, delivered the event’s opening address and thanked Justice Morrison for agreeing to deliver the lecture which was featured the findings of a report he prepared for the Project in July.



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