Polling of jurors in Tesha Miller trial significant, says attorney
At least one attorney-at-law has described as “significant” a decision by a High Court judge to allow for the polling of jurors when the trial of reputed leader of the Spanish Town-based Clansman gang, Tesha Miller, begins tomorrow.
“Certainly, it is significant, in that you will have an indication as to where their minds are, whether or not they are capable of dealing with the complex issues that may occur in the case. You have jurors with prejudices – sometimes political prejudices – and that will also be revealed,” attorney-at-law Christopher Townsend said.
“You will have a more level playing field. You won’t have persons with particular biases sitting in judgement of you,” he added.
Yesterday, Justice Georgiana Fraser granted the application made by Miller’s attorney, Bert Samuels, with no objection from the prosecution.
Samuels said that the application for the polling of jurors became necessary because of adverse publicity during the preliminary hearings into the matter.
“As it is with Mr Tesha Miller, who has also filed a claim against TVJ (Television Jamaica) ... , that adverse publicity has caused him to say to this court that he doesn’t want a jury empanelled without first putting questions to them regarding whether they have come to a view about him having regard to those adverse publicity,” Samuels said interview yesterday, moments after the application was granted.
He added: “What we are complaining about, and the court has agreed, that they will poll the jury, and that suggests to me that the court is aware of the adverse publicity and we are grateful that the application was granted for polling this morning.”
The application was made pursuant to Section 33 of the Jury Act, which gives a defendant in a criminal trial the option to ask the court for the jury to be polled.
Miller was last year charged with accessory before and after the fact in relation to the murder of then managing director of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company, Douglas Chambers, at the company’s complex in Spanish Town, St Catherine, on April 27, 2008.