A jury trial is a legal proceeding in which a jury [a selected people without legal background] either makes a decision or makes findings of fact based on the direction of a judge.
But the credibility of the system mostly used in cases like murder, is being called into question by the Ghana Bar Association grounding its argument on the caliber of people engaged to serve as jurors.
“How often have we wondered about the caliber of persons who serve as jurors?” President of the Association, Benson Nutsukpui, said at the opening of the 2015/2016 legal year on Monday in Accra.
“This is important as the cases tried on indictment, the summing up of evidence and law by the judge and the jurors’ appreciation of the exercise has a great impact on which way the scale of justice will tilt, hence in a country with very high percentage of uneducated citizens, justice might not be done, in many cases, if the pool of citizens from which jurors are chosen is quite uneducated,” he noted.
In October 2011, a Koforidua High Court judge, Justice Efo kosi-kaglo, recommended to Parliament to abolish trial by jury, since it does not normally ensure justice in certain criminal cases
He argued that jurors in most cases, lacked the necessary education and as such, could not fully understand and follow the trial of suspected criminals some of whom were wrongly convicted.
Meanwhile, Supreme Court judge, Justice William Atugubah has asked officials of the country’s judiciary to let the recent judiciary corruption scandal be a lesson to all judicial officers.
“Let’s open a new era in our judiciary in which corruption and all its shades cannot have an influence; actual or perceived. This applies to all participants in the justice delivery. In sounding this caution, I’m not passing judgement on anybody since what has engulfed us is still subject to determination by the appropriate authorities