Juries Act


Published: 1998-06-01

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Juries Act
JURIES [CH.59 – 1





LRO 1/2010 STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

JURIES
CHAPTER 59

JURIES
LIST OF AUTHORISED PAGES
1 - 15 LRO 1/2010


ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

SECTION

1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.
3. Qualifications for jury service.
4. Exemptions and disqualifications from jury service.
5. Sittings districts.
6. Revising panel.
7. Jury lists.
8. Revision of jury lists.
9. Jurors book.
10. Drawing jurors.
11. Proof of summons.
12. Service of summons.
13. Excuse of jurors.
14. Process of calling jury in court.
15. Balls with number of jurors sworn to be kept apart.
16. Same jury may try other matters.
17. Talesmen.
18. Number of jurors and alternate jurors.
19. Peremptory challenges.
20. Challenges for cause.
21. Method of challenge.
22. Trial of challenge.
23. Counting and swearing of jurors.
24. Jury to be unanimous except in certain cases.
25. Discharge of jury owing to disagreement.
26. Communication with jury while in retirement considering verdict.
27. When jurors permitted to separate.
28. Discharge of jury in certain circumstances.
29. Jurors’ fees.
30. Accommodation, maintenance and refreshment of jurors.

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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS LRO 1/2010

31. View.
32. Fines for non-attendance or refusal to serve.
32A. Employer and employees.
33. Release of juror from attendance.
34. Rules.
35. Savings.

FIRST SCHEDULE — Persons Exempt from Jury Service.
SECOND SCHEDULE — Persons Disqualified from Jury Service.


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LRO 1/2010 STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

CHAPTER 59

JURIES
An Act to consolidate with amendments certain written

laws relating to juries and for connected purposes.
[Assent 19th May, 1998]

[Commencement 1st June, 1998]
1. This Act may be cited as the Juries Act.
2. In this Act —
“court” means the Supreme Court;
“jury service” in relation to any person means service

as a juror in any civil or criminal proceedings
triable by jury at any sitting of the court;

“Registrar” means the Registrar of the court or his
deputy;

“revising panel” means the panel constituted by
section 6;

“sittings district” has the meaning assigned to it by
section 5;

“sitting” means a sitting of the court.
3. Every person aged twenty-one years and over

and resident in a sittings district shall be qualified for jury
service.

4. Notwithstanding anything contained in section 3 —
(a) the persons specified in the First Schedule are

exempt from jury service to the extent set out in
that Schedule; and

(b) the persons specified in the Second Schedule
shall be disqualified from jury service.

7 of 1998
22 of 2006
45 of 2007

Short title.

Interpretation.

Qualifications for
jury service.

Exemptions and
disqualifications
from jury
service.
First Schedule.

Second Schedule

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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS LRO 1/2010

5. (1) The Island of New Providence and the Island
of Grand Bahama shall be sittings districts for the holding
of sittings of the court.

(2) The Chief Justice may by notice published in the
Gazette declare any other Family Island or part thereof to
be a sittings district for the holding of sittings of the court.

(3) No juror shall be required to perform jury
service otherwise than at a sitting of the court held within
the sittings district in which he is for the time being
resident and for which his name is entered in the jurors
book as hereinafter provided.

6. There shall be a revising panel, consisting of the
Registrar, who shall be Chairman, the Parliamentary
Commissioner and the Provost Marshal or his deputy.

7. (1) It shall be the duty of the revising panel, on
or before the fifteenth day of December in each year, to
prepare a list in alphabetical order of all persons qualified
and liable for jury service in the New Providence and
Grand Bahama sittings districts who, in their opinion, are
persons of reputed honesty, integrity and intelligence fit
and proper to serve as jurors in the court.

(2) Where under subsection (2) of section 5 the
Chief Justice declares a Family Island or part thereof to be
a sittings district, it shall be the duty of the Administrator
of such Family Island sittings district to prepare and
transmit to the revising panel before the first day of
December in each year a list of all persons qualified and
liable for jury service in that sittings district, and the
revising panel shall thereupon prepare a further list in
alphabetical order of all persons named therein who, in
their opinion, are persons of reputed honesty, integrity and
intelligence, fit and proper to serve as jurors in the court.

(3) A copy of that part of each jury list prepared by
the revising panel for use during the ensuing year shall be
published in the Gazette, and a further copy thereof shall
be affixed to a public notice board at the Supreme Court
building in Nassau and in Freeport or in the case of any
Family Island sittings district at the office of the
Administrator; there shall be subjoined to each such copy a
notice that objections to the list will be heard on a date to
be specified therein not less than seven days after the
publication thereof.

Sittings districts.

Revising panel.

Jury lists.

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8. Upon the appointed day the revising panel shall
sit to revise the jury lists, and, upon the evidence on oath of
any person objecting or other proof, or upon their own
knowledge, may insert or strike out the name of any person
improperly, accidentally, unintentionally or inadvertently
omitted from or inserted therein and may correct any other
errors or omissions appearing to have been made in the
preparation of such lists:

Provided that for the purpose of revising any jury list
relating to a Family Island sittings district the Chairman of
the revising panel may in writing authorise the Deputy
Registrar of the court, the Administrator of that district, or
any stipendiary and circuit magistrate, to sit in lieu of the
revising panel and, in any such case the Deputy Registrar,
the Administrator or magistrate, as the case may be, shall
sit accordingly and shall forward his recommendations in
writing to the revising panel who shall consider the same,
and upon consideration thereof, may amend or otherwise
correct the list in accordance with such recommendations.

9. (1) At the conclusion of each revision the
revising panel shall sign the revised jury lists and the
Registrar shall record the same in a book to be called the
jurors book and the same shall thereupon be approved by the
Chief Justice for use in the court with effect from such date
or dates as he may think fit.

(2) The revised jury lists shall be published in the
Gazette and shall commence to be used from the dates
approved by the Chief Justice, which shall be notified in
the Gazette, and shall continue to be used until the use of a
fresh jury list shall be approved in respect of any particular
sittings district.

10. (1) Jurors shall be summoned to serve for a period
of three months commencing on the Monday following the
second Wednesday in January and the first Monday in the
third succeeding months thereafter namely, the months of
April, July and October:

Provided that where, at the end of the period of three
months, a juror is serving in a case which has not been
completed, he shall continue serving for the duration of
such case.

Revision of jury
lists.

Jurors book.

Drawing jurors.

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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS LRO 1/2010

(2) The Registrar shall select panels of jurors on 1st
December and thereafter on the first day of the third month
immediately following thereafter namely, 1st March, 1st
June and 1st September.

(3) Before the commencement of any sitting at
which a jury may be required, the Registrar shall select
forty-eight persons from those whose names are marked in
the jurors book as resident in the sittings district where the
sitting is to be held, by taking one name from each letter of
the alphabet in succession and so proceed from time to
time commencing each time where he has left off, until
every such person has been selected in his turn:

Provided that the Chief Justice may, whenever he
thinks fit, direct that the court shall sit in two or more
divisions for the trial of cases at a particular sitting and in
any such case the Registrar shall select the names of forty-
eight persons as aforesaid for service in each of the
divisions.

(4) In selecting names from a new jurors book in
every sitting the Registrar shall commence with the name
in the list next following in alphabetical order the names of
the persons who were last selected in the preceding sitting
from the former jurors book or as near thereto as
circumstances may permit.

11. (1) The names of all persons selected to form a
jury panel at any sitting shall be entered on a list and
numbered in numerical order from one to forty-eight.

(2) Where the Chief Justice directs that the court
shall sit in two or more divisions for the trial or causes, the
names of the forty-eight persons selected for service in
each of the divisions of the court shall be entered on a
separate list for each court numbered in numerical order
from one to forty-eight.

(3) Every list shall be signed by the Registrar.
12. (1) Every summons to be served on a juror shall

be served by the proper officer of the court at least three
days before the sitting of the court in which the juror is
required to serve, and service shall be effected by
delivering the summons to the person named therein or by
leaving it for him at his last or most usual place of abode.

Proof of
summons.

Service of
summons.

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(2) The proper officer shall make a true return of
service of each summons and shall attend at the sittings
and, if necessary, verify service upon oath.

13. If a judge is satisfied that there is any reason for
excusing a juror from jury service the judge may make an
order excusing such juror from serving for such period as
he may think fit.

14. (1) The Registrar shall cause to be provided for
use at the sitting forty-eight marble, metal or wooden balls
numbered consecutively one to forty-eight, the number on
each ball being clearly and indelibly printed or otherwise
marked thereon:

Provided that where the Chief Justice directs that the
court shall sit in two or more divisions the Registrar shall
cause to be provided for use in each division of the court
forty-eight such balls numbered as aforesaid.

(2) The balls shall at each sitting be put into a box
or other receptacle and upon trial of any case the Registrar
shall in open court draw or cause to be drawn therefrom
one of the balls, and read out the number thereon and the
name of the juror on the list set opposite to the
corresponding number on the list until such number of
jurors appear as are required who after all just causes of
challenge allowed shall remain as fair and indifferent, and
the same shall be done whenever it is necessary to form a
new jury.

15. (1) The balls which have thereon the numbers
corresponding with the numbers on the jury list of the
names of the jurors on any jury shall be kept apart until the
jury is discharged, and shall then be returned into the box
or other receptacle.

(2) If any case is brought on for trial before the jury
in any previous case has brought its verdict, the court may
order another jury to be sworn in the same manner from the
rest of the jurors on the list.

16. If no objection is made by or on behalf of any of
the parties to a cause, any issue arising therein may be tried
with the same jury which has already tried any other such
issue or which has tried or been drawn to try any other
case.

Excuse of jurors.

Process of calling
jury in court.

Balls with
numbers of jurors
sworn to be kept
apart.

Same jury may
try other matters.

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17. Whenever the requisite number of jurors have
not been summoned, or do not appear, or do not remain as
fair and indifferent after all just causes of challenge
allowed, then the court may name and appoint so many
other able and qualified persons then present at the said
court or to be found elsewhere resident within the sittings
district in which the court is sitting, as shall be necessary to
make up a full jury, and they shall, subject to all such just
reasons of excuse as the judge may think fit, serve under
pain of the same penalty as persons summoned as jurors
refusing to serve.

18. (1) In every trial for murder or treason, the jury
shall consist of twelve persons, and subject to the
provisions of subsection (3) of section 28, in every other
trial the jury shall consist of nine persons.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), in every trial for
murder or treason, the court shall direct that three
additional jurors be called and empanelled to sit and serve
as alternate jurors.

(3) An alternate juror, in the order in which he is
drawn, shall replace any juror who prior to the time the
jury renders its verdict, becomes or is found to be unable or
disqualified to perform his duties.

(4) Alternate jurors shall be subject to two
peremptory challenges by each the prosecution and the
accused in the same manner, have the same qualifications,
take the same oath and have the same functions, powers,
facilities and privileges as the original twelve jurors.

(5) Where a jury retires to consider its verdict and
an alternate juror replaces a juror, the jury shall begin to
consider its verdict afresh.

19. On the trial of an offence by the court the
prosecutor and the accused may each challenge
peremptorily and without cause any number of jurors not
exceeding —

(a) ten, in a trial for murder or treason;
(b) seven, in every other trial,

but any other challenges on either side shall be for cause.
20. The prosecutor and every accused person and

every plaintiff and defendant shall be entitled to any
number of challenges on any of the following grounds that
is to say —

Talesmen.

Number of jurors
and alternate
jurors.
22 of 2006, s. 2.
45 of 2007, s. 2.

Peremptory
challenges.
45 of 2007, s. 3.

Challenges for
cause.

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(a) that any juror’s name does not appear on the
jury list:
Provided that no misnomer or misdescription in
the jury list shall be a ground of challenge if it
appears to the judge that the description given in
the jury list sufficiently designates the person
referred to;

(b) that any juror is not indifferent between the
Queen or other prosecutor and the accused or
between the parties;

(c) that any juror has been convicted of any offence
for which he was sentenced to death or to any
term of imprisonment with hard labour
exceeding one year;

(d) that any juror is disqualified as an alien under
the law in force for the time being;

(e) that any juror cannot speak, read or write
English;

(f) that any juror was returned to serve as a juryman
contrary to the provisions for the time being in
force for the returning of jurors in rotation;

(g) that any juror is not, for any other reason
appearing sufficient to the judge, a fit and proper
person to serve as a juror in the proceedings,

and no other ground of challenge than those above
mentioned shall be allowed.

21. An opportunity to challenge each of the
members of the jury separately shall be given by the court
to the prosecutor and the accused, or to each party as the
case may be, and such challenges whether peremptory or
for cause may be made at any time before, but not after the
Registrar has begun to recite the words of the oath to any
of the jurors.

22. (1) Every challenge shall be tried by the judge,
and there shall be no appeal from his decision.

(2) The disqualification or want of qualification of
any juror may be inquired into on his being empanelled
and challenged, but not afterwards; and no verdict shall be
impeached by reason of the disqualification or want of
qualification of any juror who may have concurred in it.

23. (1) As soon as the jury are chosen, they shall be
counted in the box by the Registrar, who shall then at once
proceed to swear them; but if any juror refuses, or is

Method of
challenge.

Trial of
challenge.

Counting and
swearing of
jurors.

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unwilling from alleged conscientious motives to be sworn,
the judge may, upon being satisfied of the sincerity of the
objection, allow him to make a solemn declaration.

(2) The declaration shall be of the same force and
effect as if the person had taken an oath in the usual form,
and shall, if untrue, entail the same penalties as are
provided against persons guilty of perjury.

(3) Whenever in any legal or other proceedings it is
necessary or usual to state that jurors have been sworn, it
shall not be necessary to specify that any particular juror
has made declaration instead of oath, but it shall be
sufficient to state generally that the jurors have been
sworn.

(4) After they have been sworn, the jurors shall by a
majority of voices elect one of their number to be their
foreman.

24. (1) In every case in the criminal jurisdiction of
the court in which the prisoner is arraigned for and found
guilty of an offence to which the penalty of death is affixed
by law the verdict of guilty shall be the verdict of all the
jurors.

(2) In every other case in the criminal jurisdiction of
the court and in all civil cases, the verdict may be found,
given and returned by six jurors empanelled and any
verdict so found, given and returned shall have the same
force, validity and effect as if the same was found, given
and returned by the unanimous voice of such jury.

25. If, after the expiration of a reasonable time from
the conclusion of the summing up, the jury are not agreed
and state that they are not likely to agree, the court may,
but shall not be bound to, discharge them.

26. (1) If the jury retire to consider their verdict no
person other than the officer of the court who has charge of
them, shall be permitted to speak or to communicate in any
way with any of the jury without the leave of the judge.

(2) Disobedience to the directions of this section
shall not affect the validity of the proceedings:

Provided that if the disobedience is discovered before
the verdict of the jury is returned, the judge may, if he is of
opinion that it has produced substantial mischief, discharge
the jury and direct a new jury to be sworn or empanelled

Jury to be unan-
imous except in
certain cases.

45 of 2007, s. 4.

Discharge of jury
owing to
disagreement.

Communication
with jury while
in retirement
considering
verdict.

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during the sitting or may postpone the trial on such terms
as justice may require.

27. (1) In every case in the criminal jurisdiction of
the court and in every civil case triable by jury, the judge
may, if he thinks fit, permit jurors sworn and empanelled
upon the trial thereof to separate and depart from the court
during any adjournment of such trial before they have
retired to consider their verdict upon each such juror taking
the oath prescribed by subsection (3) of section 13 of the
Oaths Act.

(2) The following provisions shall apply whenever
the jury have not been permitted to separate —

(a) a proper provision shall be made for preventing
the jury from holding communication with any
person;

(b) the judge may allow one or more of the jurors to
separate from the other jurors;

(c) jurors who are allowed to separate from the
other jurors shall not hold communication with
other persons except with the leave of the court;

(d) jurors who are allowed to separate shall remain
in the charge of the officer of the court who has
charge of them.

28. (1) The judge may, in his discretion, in case of
any emergency or casualty rendering it, in his opinion,
expedient for the ends of justice so to do, discharge the
jury without their giving a verdict, and direct a new jury to
be empanelled during the sitting or may postpone the trial
on such terms as justice may require.

(2) If the judge becomes incapable of trying the case
or directing the jury to be discharged, the Registrar shall
discharge the jury.

(3) Without prejudice to the power of the judge to
discharge the jury under the provisions of subsection (1),
whenever a juror dies or fails to appear at any adjournment
of the trial or becomes too ill to continue to serve then in
any such case the judge may in his discretion proceed with
the trial with the remaining eight jurors, and take their
verdict which shall then have the same effect as the verdict
of the whole number.

29. (1) Every juror who is sworn in any case shall be
entitled to a fee of fifteen dollars for each day or part of a

When jurors
permitted to
separate.

Ch. 60.

Discharge of jury
in certain
circumstances.

45 of 2007, s. 5.

Jurors’ fees.

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day during which he attends at the court during the trial of
the case for which he is so sworn.

(2) Every juror who attends court during the trial of
criminal cases shall be entitled to a fee of fifteen dollars for
each day on which he is required so to attend but is not
sworn to try any such case.

(3) In every civil case listed for trial with a jury the
amount of sixty dollars on account of jurors’ fees shall be
paid to the Registrar by the plaintiff before the jury is
sworn and if it is not so paid the court shall, unless it sees
fit to allow an adjournment, dismiss the case or enter
judgment for the defendant.

(4) All jurors’ fees in civil cases shall be recoverable
as a fee of court from the plaintiff but may be allowed as
costs in the cause against any other party to the proceedings.

30. (1) In any case where the members of the jury
empanelled are required by the court not to separate before
returning their verdict, they shall be entitled to be
reasonably accommodated and maintained at the public
expense under arrangements to be made by or on behalf of
the Registrar.

(2) Reasonable refreshment at the public expense
shall be provided for members of a jury empanelled in any
case when they have retired to consider their verdict.

31. Where in any case it is made to appear to the
judge that it will be in the interests of justice that the jury
who are to try or are trying the issue in the case, should
have a view of any place, thing or person connected with
the issue, he may direct a view to be had, in such manner
and upon such conditions as he may think proper.

32. (1) If any person, having been duly summoned
to attend as a juror, does not attend in obedience to the
summons at the first sitting of the court and at every
adjournment thereof upon being openly called in court, or
if he departs from the court during its sitting without leave
of the judge and without reasonable excuse the court may
impose on him a fine of not more than five hundred
dollars.

(2) If any person, having been duly summoned to
serve as a juror, refuses to serve when required by the court
so to do, or if, after having been duly sworn he without
leave departs the court before the verdict is given or before

Accommodation,
maintenance and
refreshment of
jurors.

View.

Fines for non-
attendance or
refusal to serve.

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he is regularly discharged, the court may impose on him a
fine of not more than five hundred dollars.

(3) The judge may, during the same sitting, remit or
reduce any such fine upon sufficient cause shown to him in
open court, and he may within five days after the close of
the sitting, remit or reduce the fine upon sufficient cause
shown by affidavit.

(4) All fines imposed under the provisions of this
section shall be recoverable by distress and sale of the
goods of the person fined by warrant of the court signed by
the Registrar together with the costs of recovery thereof;
and if sufficient goods of the defaulter are not found to
satisfy the fine and costs he may be committed to prison by
warrant under the hand of the judge for such period not
exceeding three months as the judge considers fit.

32A. (1) Any employee who is not sworn to serve
as a juror remains liable to return to his place of
employment until his further attendance is required.

(2) Without prejudice to subsection (1), an
employer shall not adversely affect the remuneration of an
employee by reason only that he has been summoned
pursuant to section 10.

(3) An employer shall not dismiss or threaten to
dismiss an employee referred to in subsection (2).

(4) Any employer who contravenes subsection (3)
shall be liable to a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars.

33. The judge may at any time discharge any person
summoned as a juror from further attendance on the court,
or excuse him from attendance at any sitting or for any
period during a sitting.

34. The Rules Committee appointed under section
75 of the Supreme Court Act may make rules of court
generally for the better carrying out of any of the purposes
or provisions of this Act.

35. Nothing in this Act contained shall extend or be
construed to extend to alter, abridge or affect any power or
authority which the court or judge now has, or any practice
or form in regard to trials by jury, jury process, juries or
jurors, except in those cases only where any such power or
authority, practice or form is repealed or altered by this
Act, or is or shall be inconsistent with any of the provisions
thereof.

Employer and
employees.
22 of 2006, s. 3.

Release of juror
from attendance.

Rules.

Ch. 53.

Savings.

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FIRST SCHEDULE (Section 4(a))

PERSONS EXEMPT FROM JURY SERVICE
1. The Governor-General and his personal staff.
2. Judges of the Court of Appeal and of the Supreme Court.
3. Ministers of Government.
4. Members of the Senate and the House of Assembly.
5. Counsel and Attorneys in actual practice and their clerks.
6. Registered medical practitioners.
7. Persons officiating as priests or ministers of their respective

religions.
8. Members of The Royal Bahamas Police Force, Police

Volunteer Reservists and Supernumerary Police Officers.
9. The following members of the Public Service —

(a) Magistrates;
(b) persons who are employed in the Office of the

Attorney-General and the Law Reform and Revision
Commission;

(c) persons who are employed in the Immigration and
Customs Departments;

(d) members of The Royal Bahamas Defence Force;
(e) persons who are employed in the Judicial Department;
(f) members of the Prison Service;
(g) nurses, pupil nurses and midwives; and
(h) persons who are employed in the Industrial Tribunal.

10. Persons under permanent physical or mental incapacity.
11. The clerks and messengers of the Senate and of the House of

Assembly during such time as the Legislature is in Session.
12. Members of the Industrial Tribunal.

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SECOND SCHEDULE (Section 4(b))

PERSONS DISQUALIFIED FROM JURY SERVICE
1. Any person who is not a citizen of The Bahamas.
2. Any person who has been convicted of treason, murder, or

any indictable offence, unless he has obtained a free pardon.
3. Any person certified as being of unsound mind.
4. Any person who cannot read and write legibly in the English

language.
5. Any person who is suffering from any infectious or contagious

disease.

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