introduction reach a verdict. In criminal cases if

introduction

In this essay I
will be disusing whether jury trials should be abolished, in doing so I will
stating the many merits and criticisms regarding the jury. This will portray
the accuracy and validity of the statement.

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The jury has a big
duty in the courts as they are the ones that weighing up the gathered evidences
and deciding amongst themselves what are the facts and what happened. At times
the judge guides the jury with the appropriate law, as this will allow the jury
to apply the case to help reach a verdict. In criminal cases if the jury gives
the verdict guilty then the judge will decide the appropriate sentence. In
civil cases the jury only decides on how much money should they be compensated
due to damages. Any member of the public can be summoned to take part in the
jury service, but the only way to be selected is from the voter registrations.

 

Disadvantages

It is said that
the jury has many disadvantages, as the jury lacks legal experience/requirement.
To put twelve strangers in charge of reaching a verdict where they have no
training and knowledge of the law at all is made to be believing to be
“unacceptable and dangerous”.

 

The jury perverse
their verdicts when the jury decides to run altogether contrary to the evidence
presented before it. In other words, if the jury accepts most of the society to
decide the case it would be at adds with the decision that has been given by
the jury in the specific case. As the jury by law cannot give a reason for why
they have given their verdict but there are some jury verdicts that appears to
run the contrary to what would be described as a fair outcome in the case. An example
of a case of Randle & Pottle v R.  Where
a famous and well-known spy named George Blake escape from prison with 2 people
assisting him, then decided to write a book about his escape and how he made it
possible. The jury made out that George Blake and the 2-people assisting him
was innocent even though he wrote a whole book about his prison escape, the
book practically saying they committed the crime and they are guilt. As the
jury decided on there not guilty verdict clearly the clear evidence of the 2-people
committing the offence printed in their book seemed to show that compelling
evidence to find them guilty.

 

The jury secrecy
may as this means “bias”. As the jury gives no reason for their verdicts and
cannot discuss any views expressed in the jury room to anyone. So, then this
leaves the procedure opened to prejudice and bias in coming to a decision. An
example of this is in the case of R v Young. Four of the jury member are said
to have used the Ouija board to contract one of the defendant’s alleged victims
to find out whether the defendant had killed them. As much as this sounds ridiculous
the 4-jury based their verdict on what the Ouija board and they clearly this
was not based on the evidence in the case. The court only found out as it
happened in a hotel room where the jury were staying rather than the jury room
in the court. As the disrespect of court act makes it criminal offence to
reveal how a decision on guilt is made by the jury such secrecy could mean
bias.

 

When there is a high-profile
case it can affect the influence and the decision of the verdict that will be
made by the jury, as the jury are likely to have been reports about the case in
the media for a considerable amount of time before the case even comes to
court. In this case it will make it hard for the jury to only use evidence
presented in the case. An example of this is, in the case of R v West known as
the first killing that happened in 1967 with the west only being charged years
later in 1994. Throughout the 27 years the local and national newspaper had
reported on missing peoples that was related to the case. Since she was exposed
to the media there is risk to the right to a fair trial in front of a jury. The
matter with high profile cases is that the jury members allegedly and more
likely to do their own research. From this case the media pressure is still and
will always have some potential disadvantages of using jury members who do not
have professional training to resist.

 

As
we know that the jury are legally untrained members if the public and therefore
sometimes they may have difficulty understanding the case and the complicated
evidence. In fraud cases they have collapsed due to the evidence that has been
provided. The inexperience of jury members to be able to understand what has
happened, so they can make a judgement as to guilt. For example, the jury could
not reach a verdict in £150 fraud case where people has convinced investors to
buy complex financial contracts which were worthless. This case shows the for
some cases juries may not the best choice where the evidence is very
complicated as jury member may fail to understand the evidence very well,
compared to a legally trained judge.

 

Advantages

The jury is chosen
at random as there is no link to the case. As there is a group of 12 people
from different background, religion and area. Sir Sebag Shaw once said that the
jury  is “anonymous” and the independent
and the jury service is a public duty with no payment decisions  are as free from the external interference.
The discussions in the jury room are also protected by law and no reason can be
given for the verdict that has been decided by the jury can be challenged, as
this means that the decisions that has been by the jury are free bias as is
possible, in order the help achieve the fairest verdicts for the defendant
based on the evidence heard.

 

The public are
fully aware and supports the fact that the jury membered are not trained and
has very knowledge about the laws and due to this this means that they are less
professional involvement. From the research that was gathered, believed to have
found that 85% of those by the bar council in 2003 stated that they were
confidence and trust the judgments within the jury when they come to make their
verdict as this showed the system is supported by a large amount of society as
being fair when it comes to criminal justice. An example of this, is in the R v
Kronlid and others case when a group of people was charged for criminal damage
to a Hawk fighter plane. As the plane was going to be sold to the Indonesian government,
however there was a high risk that they would use the plane to proceed a
genocide against the Timor. The jury of the court clearly saw that they were
being morally in the right. The jury agreed to have the case as an open court
as there can be no bias or any perception of bias when the jury is deciding their
verdict, as they are member of the public can watch the case. As the role a
jury member is public duty to not get paid their verdict are apolitical.

 The jury are only allowing
to agree the case on their view of what is fair so unlike judge and the lawyers
the law is not as important. As the word “equity” just simply means fair. An example
of this, is in the R v Ponting, this case revolved around the Falkland
conflicts and the sinking of an Argentinian ship called the Belgrano, by a UK
submarines. Ponting had been charged with leaking an internal MoD document
concerning the general Belgrano, the Argentinian cruiser which British forces
sank during the 1982 Falkland war, killing 360 people. The government stated that
the Belgrano was threating the British citizens when it was sunk. The document
leaked by Ponting as this indicated that is was sailing out the exclusion zone.
This brought huge embarrassment for lady thatcher’s government. The judge at
the time indicated that the jury should convict him. It was hailed as a victory
for the jury system as they clearly believed it was in the public’s interest to
hear about this allegation of a government cover up and therefore the jury must
have felt such a public duty by Ponting should not be classed as a criminal
offence, regardless of the judges or politicians’ views on the matter. The not
guilty verdict was regarded as fair and equitable.

 

It is clear from all
the research that has been provided, the jury should be abolished. There are
more negative statements and cases about the jury than positive. The jury has
no knowledge what so ever on the laws and the statutes of the court. Yes, wanting
to include the pubic is a great way to involved them in what the government is
doing but giving them the authority to decide the verdict whether they are guilty
or not is contradicting the lawyers, barrister and most importantly the judge.

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