Jurors have been urged to limit their use of social media, listen carefully to the evidence presented in court, and not to speculate on cases before them.
“Just be careful with social media, I want to caution you all on that,” Madam Justice Pamela Beckles told jurors on Wednesday as she welcomed them to the No. 5 Supreme Court.
“Whenever you are empanelled on a jury, just limit your interaction . . . . Don’t go researching the accused or anything, it is not necessary . . . . Any decision that you all will make, just let it be based on the evidence that you all hear solely in this court . . . from that witness stand or dock.”
The judge also cautioned the jurors about becoming sympathetic towards any person involved in any matter.
“. . . Nothing like that should affect your decision. Don’t have any sympathy for anybody, don’t have sympathy for the accused, and don’t sympathise with the complainants, just base [your decision] on the evidence that you all hear . . . .
“Don’t let anybody approach you to discuss anything concerning any of these matters and likewise you all don’t approach anybody to discuss any matters. If anybody tries to approach you or influence you in any way, bring that to our attention and we will deal with it,” she added.
Justice Beckles explained that the court is a “different experience” and “should be pretty interesting” but is not like what is seen in books or television.
“This is Barbados; we don’t have all that technology that you all see on television. That is why I tell you to base your decisions on the evidence that is led before [the court], not anything you all read in books or see on television. Unfortunately, we don’t have those big forensic testing that you all see . . . . We don’t have it. What we have, we will present and you all will base your decisions on that,” said the judge who reminded jurors that they should return to their place of employment when they are released from jury duty or are not empanelled.