Move to ease court backlogThe government said the move to amend the act was to ease the heavy backlog that now burdens the country’s justice system.“The backlog in the courts is a real problem. We have too many cases that drag on for years,’ Chuck said. Plans are afoot by the Jamaican government to amend the Gun Court Act to allow for all non-capital murder cases to be tried by a judge only.Non Capital murder cases are those that are not usually punishable by the death sentence.The disclosure was made by Attorney General Marlene Mahaloo-Forte during a recent debate on the criminal Justice Act in parliament.Trial by judge alone“The Gun Court Act is going to be amended. Currently, this act provides for most firearm offences to be tried by a judge alone. There is a glaring exception in relation to the offence of murder committed with a firearm. In such a situation, the current law provides that trial should be by jury. It is therefore being proposed that a firearm offence, in the non-capital category, will be tried by a judge alone,” she said.Her proposal was bolstered by Justice Minister Delroy Chuck who argued that it would make sense to amend the act “as all other gun offenses are tried by a judge alone.”In Jamaica, capital murder cases are currently tried with a panel of 12 jurors while non-capital murder cases are tried with seven jurors.