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The Jury System
Transcript of The Jury System
A panel of ordinary people who hear the evidence presented in a trial and deliver a verdict based on this evidence.
The functions of a jury in criminal trial
The jury hears the evidence against the defendant and weighs the evidence to determine whether it satisfies the charged criminal offenses beyond a reasonable doubt. It is then the jury's duty to gather together, discuss the evidence, and, once the necessary consensus is reached, come to a verdict of guilty or not guilty in a given case.
The role of a Judge in a criminal jury trial
The Role of a jury criminal trial
The jury must listen to the evidence and reach a verdict. They must decide questions of fact. They are a fact finding body that’s listens to evidence presented and determines which evidence to believe. They also listen to the judge and all jury must agree on the verdict.
Proposed reforms in Western Australia recently
The judge is impartial ; doesn't take sides and is unbiased
- Judge is independent ; creates more confidence and the parties are treated fairly
- Judges cannot offer parties assistance
- Judge's experience and knowledge of law is underutilized
- In the trial, the judge explains the law that is applicable in the case. This includes an explanation of the elements that must be proven and any possible defenses that may be used
Reforms that have been put in place since the Butcher Vs McLeod criminal trial
A proposed reform that we believe would benefit the criminal jury system in W.A
There are many possible reforms to the jury system as the jury system can unfortunately be flawed in many ways and many people on the jury panel may have no clue about the legal and jury system.
One reform that could be put forward is for the jurors to undergo a short course to how the system works and also contain a slightly higher number but a much wider mix of ethnicity groups and age. In doing so this makes the jury as balanced as possible as well as getting a range of different views that will all make the trial even fairer.
The former Western Australian attorney general Hon. Jim McGinty MLA gave the law reform commission these reforms:
examine and report upon the operation and effectiveness
of the system of jury selection giving consideration to:
(i) whether the current statutory criteria governing persons who are not eligible, not qualified or who are excused from jury service remain appropriate;
(ii) the compilation of jury lists under Part IV of the
Juries Act 1957 (WA);
(iii) recent developments regarding the selection of jurors in other jurisdictions; and
iv) any related matter.
By Frances Ramshaw, Ariel Postmus, Dylan Dadson and Rita Fernandes