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Juries - advantages and

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[Home][Index - Lecture notes][Index - English Legal System][Index - Lay people][Juries][Juries -
advantages and disadvantages]

| Cases on juries here |
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Advantages Disadvantages
Provides certainty, no retrial
(subject to recent reforms but
only for serious crimes).
On acquittal there can be no
retrial (subject to recent reforms
but only for serious crimes).
Retrial available in tainted cases
(nobbling) Section 54 Criminal
Procedure and Investigation Act

Section 51 Criminal Justice &
Public Order Act 1994 creates
offence to intimidate or threaten
to harm a juror.
Jury nobbling believed to be
frequent resulting in wrongful

No enquiry allowed into jury
deliberations after verdict, even if
juror alleges racial or any other
type of bias or wrongdoing by the
Prosecution and defence
"challenges" correct the problems
caused by random selection.
Jury vetting is against the
principle of random selection.
95% of cases dealt with by
magistrates, so not a great cost as
a percentage spent of the CJ

Public acceptability of jury
Expense of jury trial.

Defendants manipulate the
Perverse verdicts enjoy public

Avoiding unjust law or precedents
without breaking them.

Perverse verdicts undermine the
principle of justice, and the rule of
law. (and are actually very rare)

Defying the will of the
democratically elected legislature.
Perverse jury verdicts can provide
a "criminal equity".

Juries return the wrong verdict -
series of miscarriages of justice
undermine confidence.

Jurors may be tempted to reach a
quick verdict in order to get it over
with and go home.

Law on jury secrecy could allow
the innocent to remain convicted
rather than make reasonable
enquiries into how verdict was
obtained (R v Mirza)
Involvement of lay people. Trial by

Juries include many ethnic
minorities as a percentage of the
whole population (11.5% are non-
white, British - 2001 census),
which is wrongly thought to be
Selection of juries to obtain racial
mix not allowed.

Ethnic minorities often do not
register to vote.

Ethnic minorities do not have the
language skills to be effective
Independent of the executive and
the judiciary.

With 12 people any bias is likely to
be cancelled out
Can be biased against one party
or the other.

Local prejudice can be a problem
in particularly emotive
cases Litchfieldmoved to Exeter
for this reason.
Common sense; judge strength of
witnesses' evidence themselves.
Are mislead by barristers'
techniques as to strength of
Apply common values, e.g. what is
Judge has to explain legal
Majority verdicts allow justice
when there is a 'rogue' juror.
Majority verdicts can convict when
there is doubt which should have
been given to the defendant.
Many judges believe jurors usually
return the right verdict, very few
appeals from jury verdicts.

High correlation in USA studies of
jury/judge verdicts.
Easily influenced by impressive
barristers, or the judge.

Juries not required to give reasons
for verdicts.
Judge can correct any unfairness Insufficient intellect. Cannot
of the array. follow complicated tax or fraud
cases. Note: can be judge-only
trial in some cases.
Provide a barometer of public
Inconsistencies throughout the

Young jurors no life experience.
Ordinary honest citizens applying
local knowledge and values.

Reputed to do their best according
to the law.
Jury members can have a string of
convictions not serious enough to

Also, disqualified jurors still find
their way into the jury box.
Civic duty a rare opportunity for
Role of the jury is merely symbolic
of public involvement.

Can become bored during the

Inconvenience and financial loss to
Efficient system, with 800 years of

Slow. Some trials e.g. fraud can
take many weeks or months.

Lack of research defies
Character and honesty can be
judged by ordinary persons, it
does not require legal skills.
Horrific cases can seriously affect
jurors who have to sit through
harrowing evidence.
Public confidence. The existence of juries distract
from real problems in the criminal
justice system people believe their
existence means the CJ system is
functioning well.
Defendants can elect jury trial. Many serious cases do not provide
for jury trial, for example drink

There is no choice but jury trial in
indictable offences, summary trial
cannot be elected.
Juries do understand the burden
of proof, and lower it in
paedophile cases and child
Juries do not understand the
burden of proof.
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Cases - juries

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Lecture notes
ABC Trial (1978)
Abdroikof, R v [2007] HL
Aitken v Preston (1997) CA
Andrews, R v (1998) CA
Attorney General v Associated Newspapers Ltd [1994] HL
Blythe, R v (1998)
Broderick, R v [1970] CA
'Bushell's Case' 1670
Clark v Chief Constable of Cleveland (1999) CA
Comerford. R v [1998] CA
Connor (and Rollock) and Mirza, R v. (Conjoined Appeals) [2004] HL
Criminal Justice Act 1967 s.17
Danvers, R v [1982] Crown Court
Davies, R v (1999) Crown Court
Dolby, R v (1823)
Ellis v Deheer [1922] Bankes LJ
Fricker, R v (1999) CA
Ford (Royston), R v (1989) CA
Gough, R v [1993] HL
Gregory v United Kingdom (1997) ECHR
Harvey v Hewitt (1840) Coleridge J
John v MGN Ltd [1997] CA
R v Khan (2008) CA
Kelleher, R v [2003] CA
Kray, R v (1969) CA
Litchfield, R v [1998] CA
Lowry, R v [2004] CA
Mason, R v [1981] CA
McKenna (McKenna and Busby), R v [1960] CA
Melchett, R v (2000)
Miah (& Akhbar), R v [1997] CA
News Group Newspapers Ltd and another v Grobbelaar (2001) CA
Obellim and others, R v [1996] CA
Owen, R v (1992)
Ponting, R v [1985]
Qureshi, R v [2002] CA
Randle & Pottle, R v (1991) Alliott J
Rantzen v Mirror Group Newspapers [1994] CA
Ras Behari Lal v King-Emperor (1933) PC
Re Osman (Practice Note) [1995] Verney J
Richardson, R v [2004] CA
Salt, R v [1996] CA
Schot & Barclay, R v [1997] CA
Sheffield Crown Court ex parte Brownlow (1980) CA
Smith, R v [2003] CA
Sutcliffe v Pressdram [1990] CA
Thompson v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [1997] CA
Tarrant, R v (1997) CA
Thompson, R v [1962] CA
Vaise v Delaval (1785) Lord Mansfield CJ
Vickers, R v (1975) CA
Ward v Chief Constable of the West Midlands (1997) CA
Ward v James [1965] CA
Willer, R v (1986) CA
Wiltshire v Barrett [1966] CA
Wilson & Sproson, R v (1995) CA
Wilson, Kronlid, Needham, Zeltna, R v (1996)
Young, R v [1995] CA

ABC Trial (1978)

[Juries - vetting]
DDD (two journalists and a soldier)
were alleged to have revealed
government secrets by exposing
activities at GCHQ.
During the trial it was revealed that
the Attorney-General's Guidelines of
1974 were in existence and had
been used since 1974.

Held: A retrial was ordered.

Guilty: The journalists were
acquitted of spying but found guilty
of disclosure of defence information.
The signals expert, received a
suspended sentence.

Comment: The case is called the
ABC Trial because of the
government's attempt to rename a
key army witness "Colonel B".

Abdroikof, R v [2007] HL

Whole case, here

^[Juries - composition]
DDD challenged the composition of
the jury in their trials. In two cases,
a serving police officer sat as a juror,
and in the other, a Crown
Prosecution Service solicitor.

Held: It appears from this decision
of the House of Lords that where a
prospective juror would be biased or
give the appearance of bias he
should stand down.

It has to be borne in mind that
Parliament had, by enacting
the Criminal Justice Act 2003,
that such persons were eligible to sit
on juries, envisaging that any
objection to their sitting would be
the subject of judicial decision.

Nevertheless, it had to be doubted
whether Parliament had
contemplated that employed Crown
prosecutors would sit as jurors in
prosecutions brought by their own

Appeal allowed and referred to the
Abdroikof - attempted murder,
appeal dismissed
Green - assault occasioning actual
bodily harm, appeal allowed
Williamson - two counts of rape,
appeal allowed

Comment: Considered in R v
Khan (2008) CA, where the Court of
Appeal declined to give guidelines,
except that matters of bias should
be sorted before the trial and police
officers, CPS and prison personnel
should be identified before the trial.
In the event of likely bias the juror
should be stood down. It will remain
to be seen if this judgment means
those persons will no longer be
Aitken v Preston (1997) CA

Whole case here
^[Juries - jury trial not
appropriate in complex libel
DD the Guardian
and Granada television, libelled
Jonathan Aitkin (the subsequently
imprisoned Tory minister) and (at
C's request) Popplewell J ordered a
non-jury trial.

Held: The trial would involve the
prolonged examination of
documents, and a jury could not
conveniently do that. The emphasis
now was against jury trials, and a
single judge would give a reasoned
judgement for or against the
claimant on each of the issues in
dispute, whereas a jury would give
only a general verdict perhaps
leaving some doubt as to whether C
or DD had been vindicated in
relation to some issues.

Order affirmed.
Andrews, R v (1998) CA

Whole case here

^[Juries - vetting]
D murdered her boyfriend. D alleged
a fictitious motorist had killed him in
a "road rage" incident. D claimed
that adverse press coverage had
prevented a fair trial. The trial judge
refused to allow a questionnaire to
be put to the jury to identify possible

Held: The questioning of potential
jurors; either orally or by
questionnaire, was to be avoided
except in cases where they might
reasonably have had a financial
interest in the events on which the
trial was based. The law generally
assumes that jurors will be faithful
to their oaths to return a true verdict
in accordance with the evidence.

Appeal dismissed.
Attorney General v
Associated Newspapers
Ltd [1994] HL
[Juries - secrecy of
Information about how the verdict
was reached in a criminal trial was
disclosed by jurors to someone. This
person passed the information on to
a journalist. The journalist's article
was published by a newspaper.

The issue was whether it also
prohibited publication of the
information in a newspaper.

It was submitted that Contempt of
Court Act applied only to direct
contact by or with the jury

Held: The argument was rejected.

The meaning that was to be given to
the word "disclose" in section 8(1)
was considered.
Lord Lowry sought to identify the
mischief which the Act was designed
to remedy. He drew attention a
sentence in the Report of the
Departmental Committee on Jury
Service (1965):
"we agree with those of our
witnesses who argued that if such
disclosures were to be made,
particularly to the Press, jurors
would no longer feel free to express
their opinions frankly when the
verdict was under discussion, for
fear that what they said later might
be made public."
Later he quoted with approval a
passage from a judgment by Beldam
"Section 8 is aimed at keeping the
secrets of the jury room inviolate in
the interests of justice. We believe
that it would only be by giving it an
interpretation which would
emasculate Parliament's purpose
that it could be held that the
widespread disclosure in this case
did not infringe the section."
Also here
Blythe, R v (1998)

Informal report here

[Juries role in cases perverse
D cultivated cannabis with intent to
supply it to his wife who was dying
with multiple sclerosis. D feared W
might commit suicide and pleaded
duress of circumstances.

Held: The trial judge told the jury
that the defence was not available in
such a case. Nevertheless, the jury
disregarded this instruction and
found D not guilty.

Guilty of possession fined 100.
Broderick, R v [1970] CA [Juries - challenges to the array]
D wished to be tried by an all-black

Held: The judge, in asking for
enquiries to be made as to whether
there was one black person on the
panel, had 'gone quite as far as law
and consideration required'.

'Bushell's Case' 1670

Whole case here

Commentary here

^[Juries - jury cannot be
ordered to convict against their
Having failed to convict his father,
Sir William Penn, for treason, the
state then prosecuted his barrister
son (and William Mead) for
practicing the Quaker religion.

The jury, led by Edward Bushell
acquitted Both Penn and Mead of
"leading a dissident form of

The 10 judges repeatedly directed
them to convict. The jury refused
and were imprisoned. The judge
said, "You shall not be dismissed 'til
we have a verdict that the court will

The jurors were locked up "without
meat, drink, fire or tobacco" for two
nights before being fined and
imprisoned until they paid.

They obtained a writ of habeas
corpus and a ruling that they should
not be punished for their verdict.

The Chief Justice released Penn and
Mead, upholding "the right of juries
to give their verdict by their

A memorial plaque commemorating
'Bushell's Case' is in the Old Bailey.

Penn later founded Pennsylvania.

Clark v Chief Constable
of Cleveland(1999) CA

Whole case here
^[Juries damages in
defamation - s.8 of the Courts
and Legal Services Act 1990]
Jury awarded C 500 damages for
malicious prosecution.

Held: A jury still has some
discretion, and is not bound by
guidelines, but if it awards too much
or too little its award may be altered
on appeal.

Lord Justice Henry dissenting:
It seems to me that the jury rightly
took the view that Lord Woolfs
bracket was not meant to include
those who set dogs on policemen,
generally abuse the police, and tell
the jury lies to profit from conduct
which, differently charged, was
criminal. In my judgment this Court
should not interfere with the jurys
Amount raised to 2000
Comerford. R v [1998] CA

Whole case here

^[Juries arrangements made
in knobbling case]
D dealt in large amounts of cocaine,
and the prosecution thought an
attempt might be made to "nobble"
the jury. The judge ordered special
protection for the jury, and allowed
the jurors to be identified only by
numbers and not by their names.

Held: Lord Bingham LCJ:
"It is highly desirable that in normal
circumstances the usual procedure
for empanelling a jury should be
followed. But if, to thwart the
nefarious designs of those suspected
of seeking to nobble a jury, it is
reasonably thought to be desirable
to withhold jurors' names, we can
see no objection to that course
provided the defendant's right of
challenge is preserved."
Appeal dismissed.
Connor (and Rollock) and
Mirza, R v. (Conjoined
Appeals) [2004] HL

Whole case here

^[Juries - the common law rule
is that, after the verdict has been
returned, evidence as to things
said by jurors during their
deliberations in private is
Connor and Rollock committed
wounding with intent to cause
grievous bodily harm by stabbing V.
Mirza committed indecent assault
over a period of time against a girl
aged 6 until she was 15/16. During
both trials there were irregularities
concerning the juries.

In Connor's case a jury member sent
a letter to the judge (after verdict
but before sentence) saying that the
deliberations included discussion
that to find both guilty...
"would teach them a lesson, things
in this life were not fair and
sometimes innocent people would
have to pay the price"...
and that if they didn't find both
guilty they would be deliberating for
another week.

In Mirza's case the jury appeared to
have doubts about D using a court
interpreter despite being resident in
the UK or 13 years, they sent two
notes to the judge to clarify their
doubts (one after verdict but before
D's barrister also received a letter
from a juror which told him the jury
thought the use of the interpreter
was a ploy, and she described some
of the jury deliberations

By a 4-1 majority the appeals were
Their Lordships affirmed the principle
that not even appeal judges can
inquire into the deliberations of

But, a court cannot be in contempt
of itself. Section 8(1) is addressed
to third parties who can be punished
for contempt, and not to the court
which has the responsibility of
ensuring that the defendant receives
a fair trial.
It is going too far to suggest, as the
Court of Appeal appears to have
done in R v Young (Stephen), that
the trial court will be in contempt of
itself if during the trial, having
received allegations, it investigates
them and discloses the result of
these investigations to counsel.

The court is restricted in its inquiry
into what happened in the jury's
deliberations, not by section 8
Contempt of Court Act but by the
longstanding rule of the common law
that evidence of jury deliberations
after the verdict has been delivered
is inadmissible. . Sec 8 merely
reinforces the common law rule
about jury secrecy.

Lord Slynn said the principle was
essential to the operation of the
jury system as we know it.

The common law rule is not
incompatible with article 6(1) of the

Criminal Justice Act 1967

[Juries jury can be directed to
return verdict]
Entry of verdict of not guilty by order
of a judge

Where a defendant arraigned on an
indictment or inquisition pleads not
guilty and the prosecutor proposes
to offer no evidence against him, the
court before which the defendant is
arraigned may, if it thinks fit, order
that a verdict of not guilty shall
be recorded without the defendant
being given in charge to a jury, and
the verdict shall have the same
effect as if the defendant had been
tried and acquitted on the verdict of
a jury.

Danvers, R v [1982] Crown
[Juries - challenge to the array]
D a West Indian objected to the jury
at Nottingham Crown Court because
it was entirely white.

His challenge failed, even though the
black population in Nottingham
represented about 10 per cent of the

Davies, R v (1999) Crown

[Juries - acquittal for 'medicinal
cannabis grower}
Colin Davies aged 42, from
Stockport, vowed to continue
growing, using and supplying
cannabis after a jury at Manchester
Crown Court acquitted him.

It was the second time in 13 months
that Mr Davies, a father of two, had
mounted a successful defence. At
the first trial he was cleared of
possessing the drug.

Mr Davies, a former joiner, broke his
back in a 60ft fall from a bridge five
years ago. He walks with a limp and
is in constant pain. He says that
conventional treatments prescribed
by doctors prompted spasms and
sickness, so he turned to cannabis in
desperation and began cultivating
the plants in his flat.
Dolby, R v (1823) [Juries - challenges]
The sheriff who was responsible for
summoning the jury was a
subscriber to the society which was
the prosecutor.
The array was successfully

"Upon an award of tales at Nisi Prius,
it is not necessary that the tales
should be selected out of persons
accidentally present; they may be
selected out of persons whose
presence the sheriff or coroner has
taken previous means to obtain."

Ellis v Deheer [1922]
Bankes LJ
^[Juries - court will not consider
evidence of jury deliberations]
The verdict delivered by the foreman
was not heard by the whole jury and
they did not assent to it.

Held: The court will not take
evidence about jury deliberations,
but was not precluded from granting
a new trial by the fact that the
objection to the verdict was not
taken until after the jury had been
discharged, but...

Bankes LJ:
"I desire to make it clear that the
court will never admit evidence from
jurymen of the discussion which they
may have had between themselves
when considering their verdict or of
the reasons for their decision,
whether the discussion took place in
the jury room after retirement or in
the jury box itself".
Fricker, R v (1999) CA

Whole case here
^[Juries - may only consider
evidence presented during the
D was alleged to have been in
possession of stolen tyres.
The jury sent a note to the judge
which read:
"One of the jurors is a tyre
specialist. The code 088 on the tyre
signifies [that is the tyre produced
as an exhibit] that the tyre was
manufactured in the eighth week of
1998. The defendant claims to have
had the tyres in his house around
this period certainly very little time
for the tyres to have gone through
normal purchase before being
acquired by the defendant. May we
take this into consideration?"
Just as the judge had made up his
mind to allow the jury to take this
matter into account the jury
indicated that they had reached a
The jury convicted and D appealed.

Held: It was wrong that the jury
should have been allowed to
introduce entirely new evidence into
the case, when neither party had
been given the opportunity to
consider it and test it, and where D
in particular had not been given any
opportunity to provide an
explanation for it.

Not guilty
Ford (Royston), R v (1989)

^[Juries - selection - challenges-
selection matter for 'Lord
Chancellor and Secretary of
State for Justice']

D was of mixed race and preferred
to be called black. D was chased and
arrested by a constable, also of
mixed race for unlawful use of a
motor car.

At the Crown Court D applied to the
judge for a multiracial jury. The
judge, under the misapprehension
that counsel was about to use the
case as a platform for racial
haranguing, refused the application
and, later, was intent on stopping
defence counsel from asking any
question which had any tinge of
colour in it.

Held, A judge, at common law can
prevent individual jurors who were
not competent from serving on the
jury. This did not include the
discharge of competent jurors so as
to influence the overall composition
of the jury.
The essence of the jury system was
random selection, and random
selection was a matter not for the
judge but for the Lord Chancellor in
accordance with section 5(1) of the
Juries Act 1974.
A judge had no power to influence
the composition of a jury.

Not guilty because the judge's
misunderstanding about
unnecessary racial argumentation
had led him into unwitting error
whereby he prevented counsel from
putting questions that he was
lawfully entitled to put.

Comment: this case is authority for
preventing any meddling with the
composition of jury panels, whether
for reasons of race or sex.

Gregory v United
Kingdom (1997) ECHR

Whole case here

^[Jury deliberations must be
secret - principle does not
contravene Art 6 ECHR]
D, who was black, was tried for
robbery. After the jury had been
deliberating for about two hours, a
note was passed from the jury to the
judge, saying "Jury showing racial
overtones. One member to be

The judge showed the note to the
prosecution and the defence. He
then recalled the jury and gave them
a careful direction on the need for
them to put any form of prejudice
out of their minds and to decide the
case, in accordance with their oath,
on the evidence.

Held: Appeal against conviction
dismissed. Undoubtedly, there must
be a general rule that the
deliberations of the jury must remain
"The Court observes that it was not
disputed that there was no evidence
of actual or subjective bias on the
part of one or more jurors. It was
also accepted by both the applicant
and the Government that it was not
possible under English law for the
trial judge to question the jurors
about the circumstances which gave
rise to the note. The Court
acknowledges that the rule
governing the secrecy of jury
deliberations is
a crucial and legitimate feature of
English trial law which serves to
reinforce the jury's role as the
ultimate arbiter of fact and to
guarantee open and frank
deliberations among jurors on the
evidence which they have heard."
(emphasis added)
Comment: This case is the
authority for stating that the UK jury
system does not contravene Art 6

Gough, R v [1993] HL ^[Juries - bias]
D had conspired with his brother to
commit robbery. At the trial the
brother was frequently referred to by
name, and a photograph of him and
D was shown to the jury and a
statement containing the brother's
address was read to the jury. One of
the jurors was a next door neighbour
of the brother but she did not
recognise him or connect him with
the man referred to in court until he
started shouting in court after the
appellant had been convicted and
sentenced to 15 years'

Held: The proper test of possible
bias on the part of a juror was
whether there was a real danger
that the D might not have had a fair
trial and not whether a reasonable
and fair-minded person sitting in
court and knowing all the relevant
facts would have had a reasonable
suspicion that a fair trial of the
defendant was not possible.

Per curiam. In magistrates courts
the test is whether a reasonable and
fair-minded person sitting in court
and knowing all the relevant facts
would have a reasonable suspicion
that a fair trial was not possible.

Harvey v Hewitt (1840)
Coleridge J
^[Jury deliberations must be
secret - but extrinsic evidence is
Information was provided by an
affidavit from the jury bailiff and
persons in an adjoining room, that
the jurors had arrived at their
verdict by drawing lots.

Held: (1) A verdict decided by lot is
a bad verdict, and the court will,
where such verdict has been given,
grant a new trial.

(2) Though the affidavits of
individual jurors are not, on grounds
of public policy, receivable to impugn
their own verdict, yet the affidavits
of persons within hearing, are
admissible to give the court that
information which cannot be derived
from a party implicated.

Colerdige J:
"No doubt . . . that we cannot take
the affidavit of a juryman stating his
own misconduct, or that of his
brother jurymen . . . The affidavits
here produced, however, are not
made by the jurors themselves . . .
but they are the affidavits of persons
who witnessed the transaction itself,
of agreeing to draw lots, and
drawing lots".
John v MGN Ltd
[1997] CA

[Juries - damages for libel -
guidance to juries]
C, a well known musician claimed
damages for defamation in respect
of an article in "The Sunday Mirror"
which claimed that C that his habit
of not swallowing food constituted a
form of bulimia.
The jury awarded him 75,000 by
way of compensatory damages and
275,000 by way of exemplary

Held: Appeal allowed in part. The
jury's attention could properly be
drawn to such awards approved or
substituted by the Court of Appeal
and to the conventional
compensatory scales of damages
awarded in personal injury actions.
Counsel and the judge could indicate
a sum or bracket of award
appropriate to the particular case.

25,000 & 50,000 substituted
Khan, R v (2008) CA

Whole case:
R v Khan (2008) CA

^[Juries - composition]
Conjoined appeals where it was
argued that there would be an
appearance of bias if a police officer,
CPS employee and a prison officer
were served as jurors.

Held: There is no reason why police
and prison officers and CPS
employees should be considered
biased because of their occupation.

Per curium: The Court of Appeal
declined to give guidelines, except
that matters of bias should be sorted
before the trial and police officers,
CPS and prison personnel should be
identified before the trial. In the
event of likely bias the juror should
be stood down.

No bias in any of the cases
Comment: It will remain to be seen
if this judgment means police and
prison officers and CPS employees
will no longer be jurors.
Kelleher, R v [2003] CA ^[Juries - judge must not direct
a jury to convict]
D entered an art gallery and
decapitated a statue of Baroness
Thatcher in protest at her policies
which he foresaw were leading the
world towards its eventual
destruction. The judge directed the
jury to convict because of none of
the evidence was disputed and the
statutory defence did not engage
with D.

Held: A judge is never entitled to
direct a jury to return a verdict of

The evidence was overwhelming
in any event, so the conviction
was safe.

Kray, R v (1969) CA ^[Juries - challenge to the polls]
D was on trial for murder. He
wished to object to any jurors who
had read newspaper articles
published immediately after two of
the accused had been convicted at
an earlier trial for murder.
The articles complained of had
reported the earlier verdict, but had
also "set out a number of facts which
were not in evidence at the trial and
which were discreditable of those to
whom they referred".

Lawton J criticised the newspapers
for publishing the additional facts
about the accused not disclosed in
evidence at the first trial and then
"This does, in my judgment, lead to
a prima facie presumption that
anybody who may have read that
kind of information might find it
difficult to reach a verdict in a fair-
minded way. It is, however, a matter
of human experience . . . first, that
the public's recollection is short, and,
secondly, that the drama . . . of a
trial almost always has the effect of
excluding from recollection that
which went before. A person
summoned for this case would not . .
. disqualify himself merely because
he had read any of the newspapers
containing allegations of the kind I
have referred to; but the position
would be different if, as a result of
reading what he had, his mind had
become so clogged with prejudice
that he was unable to try the case
Comment: The effect of this ruling
is that a juror may be challenged for
cause if his mind is so prejudiced
that he is unable to try the case
impartially, but merely having once
been informed of matters
discreditable to the accused will not
necessarily occasion such prejudice.

Litchfield, R v [1998] CA

Whole case here

This photo (copyright) of
the "Maria
Assumpta" reproduced by
kind permission of Max his
site is here.

^[Juries - jury's role is to decide
on the facts]
D the master of the "Maria
Assumpta" which foundered off the
Cornish coast and three crew
members were drowned. The ship
was reduced to "matchwood".

The gross negligence (manslaughter)
was that D followed an unsafe
course and relied too heavily on his
engines even though he knew the
fuel was contaminated.

The jury's verdict was confused and
on instructions from the judge had
to be restated, clearly, and also, a
juror's husband had a conversation
with police officers involved in the
case, of a wholly innocent nature
about the weather and holidays.

Held: It is up to the jury to decide
whether or not negligence is gross
negligence. They could use common
sense to decide complicated shipping
There was no criticism of the way
the judge dealt with perceived
irregularities with he jury.

Simon Brown LJ:
"...the jury's views ought to be
regarded as well-nigh sacrosanct
given that under the law it is they
who decide not merely the facts but
also the point at which a breach of
duty becomes the offence of
manslaughter. There would need to
be compelling grounds indeed before
it would be proper for this court to
say that the jury has set the
standard impermissibly high.
Guilty 18 months imprisonment
Also here

Lowry, R v [2004] CA [Juries - deliberations - evidence
not before the court]
D unlawfully wounded V with a knife
which he "found in his hand when he
removed it from his pocket".
The jury indicated that the knife had
fallen apart during their
deliberations. The judge directed the
jury that the knife itself was
unimportant and that the jury should
not waste their time considering it.
It later became apparent that the
jury had reassembled the knife.
D contended that the jury had
plainly carried out an improper
experiment on the exhibit and, since
that had not occurred in open court,
there had been an irregularity in the
trial, which had rendered the
conviction unsafe.

Held: It was impossible to speculate
as to whether there had been any
improper reconstruction carried out
by the jury. It was clear that
anything not before a jury in the
course of evidence was inadmissible
thereafter. Further, where there was
a risk that the jury might reconstruct
events out of line with the evidence,
they were to be warned not to do so.
However, in the instant case, what
was obviously relevant was the size
of the knife and whether it was likely
the defendant had reached into his
pocket and pulled it out believing it
to be money.

Mason, R v [1981] CA

^[Juries - challenge - jury panel
having criminal convictions]
D was convicted of burglary and
handling stolen goods.

Before the trial, the police had
checked the local criminal records
and, unknown to the defence, they
had supplied counsel for the
prosecution with the names of those
called for jury service who had been
convicted of criminal offences.

When the jury were being
empanelled, counsel asked four
members of the panel to stand by
for the Crown. Three of those had
criminal convictions although at least
one of them was not disqualified by
his conviction from jury service. D
was convicted of two offences of
burglary and two offences of
handling stolen goods.

Held: Both the Crown and the
defence had a right to challenge a
member of the jury panel.

The random selection of jurors had
always been subject to the
qualification that the judge and the
parties were to decide which
members of the jury panel were
suitable to serve on a jury.

The ancient right of the Crown,
confirmed by sections 12 (5) and 21
(5) of the Juries Act 1974, was not
subject to there being a provable
valid objection until such time as the
jury panel was exhausted.

Therefore, there was nothing
irregular in prosecuting counsel
requesting a member of the panel to
"stand by" because he had a
conviction and, accordingly, there
was no material irregularity in the
course of the trial.

Per curiam.
Since it is a criminal offence for a
person to serve on a jury knowing
that he is disqualified for the police
to scrutinise the list of potential
jurors to see if any are disqualified is
to do no more than to perform their
usual function of preventing the
commission of offences.

The well established practice of
supplying the prosecution with
information about potential jurors'
convictions is not unlawful.

McKenna (McKenna and
Busby), R v[1960] CA
^[Juries - jury to reach its own
decision without threats from
the judge]
A judge, after the jury had been
considering their verdict for two
hours, told them that if they did not
return a verdict in 10 minutes they
would "have to be kept all night" and
not resume their deliberations until
mid-day on the following day.

His actual words were:
I have disorganised my travel
arrangements out of consideration
for you pretty considerably already. I
am not going to disorganise them
any further. In ten minutes I shall
leave this building and if, by that
time, you have not arrived at a
conclusion in this case you will have
to be kept all night and we will
resume this matter at 11.45 a.m.
tomorrow. I do not know, and I am
not entitled to askand I shall not
askwhy in a case which does not
involve any study of figures or
documents you should require all
this time to talk about the matter.
May I suggest to you that you go
back to your room, that you use
your common sense, and do not
worry yourself with legal quibbles.
That is what you are brought here
for: to use your common sense,
bring a bit in from outside. There it
is, members of the jury.

Held: The court took the view that
that was a threat, especially given
the possible understanding of the
jury that they were going to be
locked up in the jury room all night.
They returned a verdict of guilty
which was overturned on appeal.

Cassels J:
"It is a cardinal principle of English
criminal law that a jury in
considering their verdict shall
deliberate in complete freedom,
uninfluenced by any promise,
unintimidated by any threat: they
still stand between the Crown and
the subject, and they are still one of
the main defences of personal

Not Guilty
Melchett, R
v (2000) Norwich Crown

News item here

[Juries role in cases perverse
D, The Lord Melchett was the leader
of a large group of Greenpeace
supporters who entered a field and
destroyed part of a crop of
genetically modified maize.

Held: On a charge of criminal
damage, they could plead the
statutory defence (under s.5 of the
Criminal Damage Act 1971) that
they honestly believed the
destruction was reasonable and
necessary to prevent damage to
other crops.

Acquitted by jury
Miah (& Akhbar), R v [1997]

Whole case here
[Juries secret deliberations]
DD committed violent disorder and A
conspired to cause GBH and murder.

Held: The court cited, apparently
with approval, a statement by Darley
CJ in R v Andrew Brown (1907)
NSWSR an Australian case
"I have come to the conclusion that
the authorities are all one way, and
that the Court cannot look at the
affidavits of jurymen for any
purpose, whether it be for the
purpose of granting a new trial, or
for the purpose of establishing the
misconduct of a juryman".
News Group Newspapers Ltd
and another v
Grobbelaar (2002) HL

Whole case here

^[Jury verdict rare case of
overturning by Court of Appeal]
C, a famous goal keeper arranged to
fix the results of football games,
which was reported in The Sun
newspaper so he sued for libel. The
jury found in his favour and awarded
damages for libel.

Held: Although the Court of Appeal
was anxious not to usurp the jury
function, there was jurisdiction to
entertain an appeal on the ground of

The court had to conclude that no
reasonable jury could have been
satisfied on the balance of
probabilities, to a relatively high
degree of probability that the verdict
was not one properly and reasonably
open to them.

The House reversed this, but said
the CofA not only could, but had a
duty to set aside the jury's verdict.
They pointed out this applies to civil
juries, never criminal juries.

They found on the facts that
Grobbelaar had no reputation to
save because he had arranged to
'fix' matches but the Sun had not
proved he had done so. Jury's
verdict reinstated and 1 derisory
damages awarded.

Jury's verdict reinstated.
Obellim and others, R
v [1996] CA
^[Juries - jury vetting -
collective responsibility of jury]
During the trial a question from the
jury caused the judge to suspect
that the author of the note knew a
good deal about police interviews,
and might have previous convictions,
and therefore potentially

The judge, without seeking the views
of defence counsel, instigated
enquiries into the identity of the
juror in question, with a view to
ascertaining whether he should have
been disqualified from jury service.

After the jury returned with their
verdicts, they handed the judge
another note, which expressed
concern that a security check had
been made on a juror on the basis of
his having asked questions of the

Held: Allowing the appeals. It was
questionable whether the judge
should have made any enquiry into
the juror's eligibility, other than to
check that the proper enquiries had
been made before the juror was
called to jury service. In any event,
he should have informed defence

Jury notes were from the whole of
the jury, and it was not appropriate
to make enquiries as to which juror
had written a particular note.
It was an irregularity that the jury
had become aware that a security
check was being made on one of
their members.

Not guilty
Owen, R v (1992) Maidstone
Crown Court (unreported)

[Juries role in cases perverse
Ds injured T in the back and arm by
firing a sawn off shotgun at him. T
had killed Ds son by careless
driving. Although T was sentenced to
twelve months imprisonment D felt
this was not enough, and when T
was released committed this offence
D was tried for attempted murder
and malicious wounding with intent.

Held: The jury at Maidstone Crown
Court acquitted him and some
members later congratulated him on
what he had done.

Not guilty
Extracts from news reports, here
Ponting, R v [1985]

[Juries role in cases perverse
D a civil servant working in the
Ministry of Defence saw documents
showing the Government (of MT)
had lied about the sinking of the ship
"General Belgrano" during the
Falklands War.

D gave copies of these documents to
an opposition MP so that the matter
could be raised in Parliament D was
charged under the Official Secrets

Held: despite the judge's clear
direction that D's conduct did
amount to an offence, the jury
acquitted him.

Not guilty
Comment: BBC report here
Qureshi, R v [2002] CA

[Juries secret deliberations]
Three days after verdicts of guilty
had been returned a member of the
jury contacted the defendants
solicitors making a number of claims
concerning the conduct of the jury
including allegations that some
members of the jury had been
racially prejudiced against the
defendant and had reached a
decision as to his guilt at the outset
of the trial.

The juror later set out her
allegations in a letter to the Crown
Court. On the instructions of the
Court of Appeal a police officer took
a statement from the juror, avoiding
any inquiry as to what had taken
place in the course of the jurys

Held: The court followed Miah

Kennedy LJ:
It seems to us that we must
follow R v Miah unless, as a result of
the Human Rights Act 1998, it can
be said no longer to represent
English Law. If we follow it, we
cannot have regard to anything said
by the juror thus far. Nor can we
initiate any further inquires because
the substance of what she has said
relates to what was said and done
between jurors in private after they
were empanelled.

But if trial by jury is properly to be
preserved, some allegations can only
be investigated if made before the
jurys part in the trial process has
come to an end. In our judgment,
the present jurors allegations fall
into that category

We therefore conclude that what
was said in R v Miah [1997] does
still represent English law. It follows
that the inquiries already made have
gone too far, and certainly no more
inquiries can be authorised by this

Comment: This case postdates the
implementation of the European
Convention of Human Rights into
English law.
Also, it appears from Miah that the
Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) is
prepared to go further than s 8 in
order to protect the privacy of what
is said by one juror to another.
Kennedy LJ thought the prohibition
applied to anything said by one juror
to another from the moment the jury
is empanelled. The common law rule
regarding jury secrecy applied by the
Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
goes at least as far as s 8.

Randle & Pottle, R
v (1991) Alliott J

[Juries role in cases perverse
Ds assisted a famous spy George
Blake escape from prison and wrote
a book about the escape. They
argued that their actions were
justified because of the severity of
Blake's sentence.

Held: Acquitted by the jury.
Rantzen v Mirror Group
Newspapers[1994] CA
[Juries - defamation trials - jury
awards to be scrutinised by the
Court of Appeal]
C, a successful television presenter
and the founder and chairman of the
"ChildLine", brought a libel action
against "The People" newspaper in
respect of articles which tended to
suggest she had protected a child
abuser. The jury awarded Ms
Rantzen damages of 250,000.

Held: Appeal allowed. The court's
power under section 8 of the Courts
and Legal Services Act 1990 to order
a new trial or to substitute another
award where the damages awarded
by a jury were "excessive" should be
consistent with article 10 of
the European Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms.

An almost unlimited discretion in a
jury to award damages for
defamation was not satisfactory.
Awards of damages by a jury should
be more closely scrutinised by the
Court of Appeal than hitherto.

250,000 awarded by the jury
was excessive because it was
not proportionate to the damage
she suffered and was reduced to
Ras Behari Lal v King-
Emperor (1933) PC
[Juries secret deliberations -
juror's disability not included]
It was alleged that one of the jurors
did not understand English, which
was the language in which some of
the evidence was given, the
addresses of counsel were made and
the judge had delivered his summing

An inquiry was held, and it was
reported that it was indeed the case
that the juror had insufficient English
to be able to follow what had been

Held: Giving the judgment of the
Board, disapproving R v Thomas
[1933] where the Court of Criminal
Appeal had refused to receive
evidence that two Welsh-speaking
jurors at Merioneth Quarter Sessions
did not have sufficient knowledge of
English to enable them to follow the
Lord Atkin said:
"The question whether a juror is
competent for physical or other
reasons to understand the
proceedings is not a question which
invades the privacy of the
discussions in the jury-box or in the
retiring-room. It does not seek to
inquire into the reasons for a
Re Tourman Osman (Practice
Note)[1995] Verney J

^[Juries selection deaf juror]
Mr O received a summons for jury
service at the Central Criminal Court
(The Old Bailey). He was severely
deaf and would have required the
services of a sign language

HELD: It was for the judge to
determine whether Mr Osman on
account of his disability would be
able to follow the whole of the

It had long been held that it was an
incurable irregularity for an
independent person, such as an
interpreter, to retire with the jury,
even though he may take no part in
the discussion

Summons discharged.
Richardson, R v [2004] CA [Juries - disqualified juror does
not on its own render conviction
D was convicted by a jury consisting
of a disqualified juror - disqualified
(s1 and SchI Juries Act 1974)
because of a conviction for sex
offences - of six counts of rape and
one count of indecent assault.

Held: A conviction was not unsafe
due to the fact that a juror who was
disqualified from acting did so act.
There must either be some evidence
that the verdict is unsafe.

Salt, R v [1996] CA

^[Juries selection - bias]
D was convicted of burglary and
assault with intent to resist arrest.
One of the jurors had been the court
usher's son, who
had been called to sit as a juror
when the number of jurors available
was. He had sat as a juror on five or
six occasions during the previous
twelve months.

Held: There was no rule of law that
the selection of jurors had to be at
random, but every effort should be
made so far as practicable to ensure
that was random.

As the juror was a member of the
court staff he was not
actually disqualified under Sch.1 of
the Juries Act 1974, he could well
be said to be within the spirit of that
In this case the selection of this
juror exceeded anything which could
reasonably be described as random.

Not guilty
Schot & Barclay, R v [1997]

Whole case here

[Juries role in cases perverse
DD were two jurors who were unable
to follow the mass of evidence
during a 17-day counterfeiting trial.
DD refused to return a verdict at all,
and refused to take part in
deliberations with the other jurors.
One had an objection to judging
another person.

The judge said such wilful refusal
amounted to contempt of court and
committed DD to prison for 30 days.

Held: The judge should not have
asked for details of the jury's
deliberations, because s.8 (1) of the
Contempt of Court Act 1981 applies
to the court as well as everyone

A juror may be fined
for wilfully refusing to find for either
side, in disregard of the oath to
"faithfully try the defendant and give
a true verdict according to the
evidence", but this requires proof of
an intention to disrupt the course of

If the evidence is legally insufficient,
the judge may direct the jury to
return a verdict of "not guilty". In
exceptional circumstances, he may
direct a verdict of "guilty", but
normally the verdict is a matter for
the jury alone and the judge cannot
refuse to accept it even if it seems

Not Guilty
Sheffield Crown Court ex
parteBrownlow (1980) CA
^[Juries vetting - Attorney
General's guidelines to be
DD (police officers) were committed
for trial for assault occasioning
actual bodily harm.

An application on behalf of the
officers was made to the judge to
inform the defence whether any
members of the jury panel had
criminal convictions.
The judge made the order

The chief constable applied for an
order of certiorari (a quashing order)
to quash the judge's order.

Held: Denning LJ thought that jury
vetting was unconstitutional except
in some circumstances.
He further stated
"The recent uprise of "jury vetting"
gave rise to so much concern that
the Attorney-General in 1975
introduced guidelines. These only
permit jury vetting in very rare
cases and then only with the express
permission of the Attorney-General."

Vetting allowed in this case.
Smith, R v [2003] CA [Juries random selection -
D who was a black man was
convicted of grievous bodily harm by
an all-white jury following a violent
incident in which the victim and all
the witnesses had been white.
He appealed on the grounds that a
fair trial in such cases requires a
multi-racial jury.

Held: Following the decision
in Ford dismissed the appeal.
Pill LJ said that fairness is achieved
by the principle of random selection
and a deliberative process
maximising consultation between
jurors with diverse backgrounds.

Sutcliffe v Pressdram [1990]

[Juries damages in
D, the magazine Private
Eye libelled C in an article saying
that that C, wife of the Yorkshire
Ripper, had known about her
husband's activities. The jury
awarded her damages of 600,000.

Held: The award was manifestly
excessive and ordered a new trial;
the case was settled for 60,000.

In future what was needed was
guidance to help juries to appreciate
the real value of large sums. They
could be invited to "weigh" any sum
they had in mind by considering the
result in terms of weekly, monthly or
annual income if the money were
invested or to consider what they
could buy with it.

Comment: The editor (Ian Hislop)
famously said after the first hearing
"If this is justice I am a banana"
Tarrant, R v (1997) CA

Whole case here

^[Juries random selection -
D was charged with drugs offences
and the judge, suspecting that
attempts might be made to
intimidate the jury, ordered that
they be selected from outside the
usual catchment area.

Held: A judge has no power to
interfere in the random selection of
the jury panel. His powers are
limited to ensuring that the jurors
are competent, are not disqualified,
and will not suffer personal hardship
that might distract them from their

Conviction quashed.
Thompson, R v [1962] CA

[Juries entitled to bring in
their own verdict]
D was found guilty by the jury. It
was discovered that a majority of
jurors had been in favour of acquittal
until the foreman had produced a list
of the defendant's previous

Held: An appeal could not be based
on this information. There was a
long-established rule that no court
could enquire into the details of the
jury's deliberations.

Thompson v Commissioner
of Police of the
Metropolis [1997] CA

Whole case here
^[Juries - guidance as
to quantum of damages]
Conjoined appeals (Hsu and
Thompson) both alleging excessive
use of force by the police.

Held: The court gave detailed
guidance on the amount of damages
that a jury should award, they
included advice that:
Damages are only awarded
as compensation, they are
not intended to punish the
In a straightforward case of
wrongful arrest and
imprisonment the starting
point is 500 for the first
After the first hour the sum
should be on a reducing scale
so as to keep the damages
proportionate with those
payable in personal injury
For twenty four hours 3,000.
For subsequent days the daily
rate will be on a progressively
reducing scale.
In the case of malicious
prosecution 2,000 -
Exemplary damages should
be awarded only if, the
compensation awarded by
way of basic and aggravated
damages is in the
circumstances an inadequate
punishment for the
An award of exemplary
damages is in effect a
windfall for the claimant and,
where damages will be
payable out of police funds,
the sum awarded may not be
available to be expended by
the police in a way which
would benefit the public.
[This guidance would not be
appropriate if the claim were
to be met by insurers].
In the future the judge will
include up a bracket for basic
damages. Aggravated
damages should not normally
exceed the amount of the
basic damages and it would
require the most exceptional
circumstances for aggravated
damages to be as much as
twice the basic damages.
In the case of exemplary
damages the conduct must
be particularly deserving of
punishment to justify an
award of 25,000 and
50,000 should be regarded
as the absolute maximum.
Thompson:. Damages to remain
at 51,500.
Hsu:. Damages reduced to

Comment: This case put paid to
juries making awards for hurt
feelings that would far exceed
damages awarded by judges in
personal injury cases where serious
debilitating injuries had been
sustained; it was universally

Vaise v Delaval (1785) Lord
Mansfield CJ

[Juries entitled to bring in
their own verdict]
D sought to set aside a jury's verdict
in favour of the claimant. Two jurors
claimed that the jury had resolved
the case by tossing a coin.

Held: The judge said he could not
receive any such evidence from a
juror: the verdict could not be
impugned unless there was some
external evidence of misconduct
(e.g. from someone who had seen it
through a window). The court cannot
receive an affidavit from a juror as
to the nature of the juror's

The rationale that was given was
that this was to protect them against
self-incrimination for what Lord
Mansfield described as a very high
misdemeanour. So the evidence had
to come from some other source.

Vickers, R v (1975) CA

[Juries entitled to bring in
their own verdict]
D a drug trafficker pleaded guilty
when the judge ruled that the
admitted facts would be conclusive
evidence of D's guilt.

Held: It is only in an exceptional
case that the judge is able to direct
a jury to convict upon agreed or
admitted facts, even where any
reasonable jury would be certain to

Ward v Chief Constable of
the West Midlands (1997)

Whole case here

^[Juries role in civil trials to
determine facts]
D, the police arrested C for a public
disorder offence. His action was for
false imprisonment and malicious
prosecution. Cs claim failed.

Held: The judge had been wrong to
leave to the jury questions of law
such as the nature of "offensive
conduct" or what might constitute
"reasonable suspicion". The jury's
role in civil trials is to determine
matters of fact.

Appeal allowed, new trial
Ward v James [1965] CA

^[Tort remedies - not intended
to punish - quantum not affected
by degree of fault]
Cs injuries resulted in quadriplegia
when the car in which he was a
passenger (in Germany) was
involved in an accident.

Held: Lord Denning MR;
"It (trial by jury) has been the
bulwark of our liberties too long for
any of us to seek to alter it.
Whenever a man is on trial for
serious crime or when in a civil case
a mans honour or integrity is at
stake... then trial by jury has no

Up to the year 1854 all civil cases in
the courts of common law were tried
by juries. There was no other mode
of trial available. Since 1854 trial by
jury in civil cases has gradually

In personal injury cases trial by jury
has given way to trial by judge alone
unless the case is exceptional
1. Assessability, because
personal injury damages to
some extent are necessarily
conventional and are based
on a "tariff" known to
2. Uniformity, so that similar
injuries would attract similar
damages no matter in which
court they were awarded;
3. Predictability, to encourage
the parties to settle their
claim outside the court.
Willer, R v (1986) CA

[Juries entitled to bring in
their own verdict]
D was charged with reckless driving.
He had driven on the pavement in a
shopping area to 'escape from a
gang of youths'.
The judge rejected his defence of
necessity, so D changed his plea to
guilty and the judge proceeded
directly to sentencing, only (after
being reminded) asking the jury
foreman to declare a guilty verdict
for the record.

Held: This was no mere quibble. It
is of the utmost importance, to
appreciate that once a person is put
in charge of the jury, he can only
come out of their charge by a verdict
one way or the other.

Watkins LJ:
"We feel bound to say that it would
have been for the jury to decide, if
necessity could have been a defence
at all in those circumstances,
whether the whole incident should
be regarded as one, or could
properly be regarded as two
separate incidents so as to enable
them to say that necessity applied in
one instance but not in the other.
For that reason alone the course
adopted by the assistance recorder
was we think seriously at fault."

Not guilty
Also here

Wiltshire v Barrett
[1966] CA
^[Juries - comments by judges]
C's car having been overtaken and
stopped on the road by the police at
10.45 pm, defendant police
constable arrested C on suspicion of
being under the influence of drink
and unfit to drive.
The police doctor came to the
conclusion that at that time plaintiff
was not unfit to drive and he was
C sued for false imprisonment
following his wrongful arrest.
Held: His action failed.
Lord Denning said:
"We all know how merciful some
juries are to drivers who have been
drinking. As often as not they acquit
them. The jurors are inclined to say
to themselves: There but for the
grace of God go I. "
Per Salmon, LJ: as a general rule, in
circumstances such as these, the
jurys verdict on the fact should be
taken before the judge rules on
submissions of law.
Comment: This action was before
the breathalyser. Drink driving is
now a summary only offence.

Wilson & Sproson, R
v (1995) CA

[Juries selection - bias]
DD were charged with robbery and
held on remand, pending their trial,
at a local prison where in the
kitchens they came into contact with
a prison officer. The prison officers
wife was summoned to sit as juror at
Ds trial. She had previously applied
to be excused jury service because
of her husband's work, but had been

Held: There was a real danger that
this juror might consciously or
unconsciously have been biased.

Not guilty
Wilson, Kronlid, Needham,
Zeltna, R v(1996)

[Juries role in cases perverse
Four women caused 1m worth of
damage to a Hawk fighter jet.
Their defence was that the jet was to
be sold to Indonesia, where it would
be used against the people fighting
for independence in East Timor:
their action was thus the prevention
of the greater crime of genocide.

Held: They were acquitted by a jury
at Liverpool Crown Court.
Young, R v [1995] CA

[Juries secrecy of deliberations
does not include overnight]
D committed two murders. During
an overnight stay at a hotel, four of
the jurors had apparently contacted
one of D's alleged victims using
an ouija board, and had obtained
information that lead to D's

D was convicted by unanimous
decisions on both counts.

One of the jurors consulted a
solicitor and provided a statement.

Held: The statutory prohibition on
inquiries into the jury's deliberations
applied even to the Court of Appeal,
but did not apply to events that
occurred during the overnight break
in their deliberations.
The Court of Appeal ordered
affidavits to be taken from each of
the jurors and the two bailiffs who
were looking after them as to what,
if anything, happened at the hotel.
But it was made clear that they were
not to "breach" section 8 of the 1981
Act by trespassing on what
happened during the jury's
deliberations afterwards when they
were in their retiring room

Lord Taylor of Gosforth CJ:
"We concluded having heard all the
arguments that we were entitled to
inquire into what happened at the
hotel but not as to what happened
thereafter in the jury room.
Accordingly we ordered that
affidavits should be taken from each
of the 12 jurors and from the two
bailiffs looking after them at the
hotel. We asked the Treasury
Solicitor to take charge of the inquiry
in conjunction with a senior police
officer of at least the rank of chief
inspector. We required the affidavits
to cover what if anything happened
at the hotel, but not to breach
section 8 of the Act of 1981 by
trespassing on what happened
during the jury's deliberations in
their retiring room"

"Having considered all the
circumstances, we concluded there
was a real danger that what
occurred during this misguided ouija
session may have influenced some
jurors and may thereby have
prejudiced the appellant. For those
reasons we allowed the appeal but
ordered a retrial."
Appeal allowed new trial ordered,

The prohibition placed on the Court
of Appeal was held to be wrong
in Connor (and Rollock) and Mirza, R
v(Conjoined Appeals) [2004] HL

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Juries - introduction

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| Cases on juries here |
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"Measure for


"The jury, passing on the prisoner's life,
May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two
Guiltier than him they try."
The jury oath Jurors swear an oath, or affirm, that they will
"faithfully try the defendant and give a true
verdict according to the evidence."

Jurymen are invested with judicial immunity. They
have full judicial privilege and are not accountable
for anything said or done in the discharge of their
office, and any threats or abusive language
directed towards them as jurymen is punishable
as contempt of court.

Convention on
Human Rights
applies to juries
As a judicial tribunal it must comply with the
requirements of article 6(1) of the European
Convention on Human Rights (right to a fair trial)
which in Gregory v United Kingdom (1997) the UK
system was found to do.

Research into
jury behaviour.
It is a common law rule (supported by Section 8(1)
of the Contempt of Court Act 1981) that no one (juror
or not) to disclose details of what was said in the
jury room, or for anyone other than a juror to try
to obtain such details. To do is is an offence.

This makes properly conducted research into the
jury impossible, even by judges and academics.
Although, Penny Darbyshire publishes some
research here (pdf file)
The Auld Review Some of the recommendations of Lord Justice
Auld's review in the Criminal Courts have been
implement, for example jury selection, others
have not, the relevant section of his report on
juries is here

Main legislation is the Juries Act 1974 as amended by
the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and the Contempt of Court Act 1981
In R v Connor and Mirza (Conjoined Appeals) [2004]HL) it was revealed that
only 1% of criminal cases is there a trial by a judge and jury.
[ Next ]
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What do you believe are the advantages
and disadvantages to a trial with a jury?
Topic: Law

deadrising | Student | eNotes Newbie
Posted July 8, 2009 at 9:28 AM via web
What do you believe are the advantages and disadvantages to a trial with a
11 Answers | Add Yours

prospero | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator
Posted July 8, 2009 at 11:47 AM (Answer #2)
A trial is either by jury or a bench-trial (meaning by judge only).
Juries have a way of letting emotion and circumstance influence their
decision, whereas a judge might be much less inclined to focus on anything
other than the correct legal result. For instance, if a defendant is on trial for
murder, but claims that the act of killing was done in self-defense, the
defendant may want to appeal to the jury members' emotions. Sometimes
the evidence (witnesses, police reports, etc.) may not completely support
the defendant's case, but a sympathetic jury might still come back with a
verdict of not-guilty.
On the other hand, if the jury is not likely to sympathize with the defendant,
but the evidence is strong in the defendant's favor, the defendant may
prefer a bench trial. Perhaps there is strong evidence that the defendant
did not commit this crime, but the defendant has a previous criminal record
which could hurt his/her chances of success with a jury who does not like
Whether to seek a trial by jury is ordinarily going to depend on the specific
facts of the case-at-hand.

epollock | Valedictorian
Posted July 8, 2009 at 3:19 PM (Answer #3)
I would say the biggest disadvantage is that most jury members do not
understand the laws that they have to follow nor do they understand the
judge's instructions most of the time. I was actually on 3 juries back home
in RI and members kept on asking me to explain some of the proceedings
to them.

Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus
Posted July 8, 2009 at 9:16 PM (Answer #4)
Trial by jury certainly doesn't guarantee a perfect path to justice, but it
offers criminal defendants certain advantages--at least in theory. A majority
of twelve people must be convinced of a person's guilt in order to convict,
and a unanimous vote to convict is required in capital cases. For a
defendant, there is safety in numbers. Getting a majority of twelve people
or all twelve to agree to convict would be harder for a prosecutor, for
instance, than working with a jury of six, eight, or even ten. The evidence
would be compelling to accomplish a conviction. Also, twelve people from
different walks of life bring a variety of expertise and life experience to the
Most of the disadvantages are rooted in this one fact: Jurors are human
beings subject to human failings. Some are smart; some are not. Some are
well educated; some are not. Some are open-minded; some are not. Some
take responsibility seriously; some don't. Also, since avoiding jury duty has
become a minor American art form, drawing a jury of one's peers is not
always likely. Finally, a jury can suffer from "group think," composed of
people who automatically accept the prevailing social and political thinking
of the community or the area of the country in which they live.

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator
Posted July 21, 2009 at 6:59 AM (Answer #5)
The jury system is a reflection of the Framers' hopes in the Constitution.
The theory of an active and concerned citizenry is a compelling one and it
is very logical that such awareness would be what the Framers envisioned
to assist in the determination of guilt of accused individuals. The theory
might have some challenges in its practice, to which previous posts have
alluded. Yet, the theoretical hopes of the Framers cannot be overlooked in
seeing the potential positives of a jury system, despite how the reality might
sometimes dissipate such hopes.

lhc | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator
Posted July 21, 2009 at 6:15 PM (Answer #6)
The fallibility of human beings as jurors, is probably the biggest
disadvantage to the jury trial. Especially troubling to me as an educator is
to consider the proliferation of grade inflation and the number of students
we are sending out into the world who think they are really, really smart
because they've never gotten anything but A's; it's easier to give students
A's. It keeps "helicopter parents" at bay, and students tend to like these
teachers better. The idea of having someone sitting on a jury who thinks of
him or herself as really, really smart, when in fact he or she really, really
isn't does not inspire confidence in the judicial process as our Framers
intended it to work. And we are sending a lot of really, really not-so-smart
kids out into the world, thinking of themselves as geniuses. On a different
note, I'll never forget hearing one of the jurors at the conclusion of the O.J.
Simpson trial saying, among other things, "I had my reasonable doubts."
This woman clearly had no idea that "reasonable doubt" is a serious and
important legal concept, not a casual catch phrase. It was disheartening to
know that in her mind, she had carried out her civic duty exactly as it was
intended; while her efforts were no doubt sincere, she was clearly not
understanding the gravity of the concept of reasonable doubt.

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | Valedictorian
Posted July 22, 2009 at 7:39 AM (Answer #7)
Advantages of trial by jury
1. As there are many persons from different background, the individual
prejudices are likely to cancels out.
2. Juries represent the common public and therefore are more likely to
judge in line with generally accepted values of the society.
3. Discussions among juries is likely to lead to more thorough
consideration of all aspects of the case.
4. It is more difficult to corrupt 12 juries through than just one judge.
Disadvantages of trial by jury
1. The juries are not knowledgeable about the law.
2. Juries do not have any special skill in giving judging cases.
3. Since the decision by jury is a group decision, individual members of
the jury may not feel that responsible about their duties and therefore
neglect it.
4. Juries may be swayed by the current prejudices in the society, which
are not supported by law.

enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator
Posted October 28, 2009 at 12:20 PM (Answer #8)
Instead of a jury, what then? Bench trials may have their purpose, like
proceedings for a traffic violation, but for important civic and criminal
proceedings, juries are the superior system, since involving a jury limits the
power of the judge. For all the points mentioned, juries have their
problems, but having the citizenry participate in court proceedings serves to
underscore the principle of government by and for the people; in short, it is
a democratic institution. Juries have to power to determine was is factual,
and decide accordingly upon guilt or innocence; the judge states and
executes the law. However, juries have a key power little discussed which
provide a check on the other branches of government, namely, they have
the power of nullification. Legislatures are, in theory, random collections of
citizens that make laws. Juries are a random collection of citizens that may
nullify law -- in other words, determine that a law broken in a civil or
criminal proceeding should not be a law at all. This was to provide a
judicial check on the legislature--that if a bad law is enacted, and people
are put to trial because of it, even if guilty by the codification of the law, the
jury can determine that no crime or civil infraction occurred because that
particular law shouldn't exist, and their nullification effectively repeals that
law. This power allows juries to exercise a check and balance and helps
insure a well functioning democratic government.

frannii101 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie
Posted July 8, 2011 at 12:52 PM (Answer #9)
Having a jury is both an advantage and a disadvantage. One of the most
important things about the jury system is the fact that it is supposed to
remain an unbiased third party and be a cross section of society,
representing numerous opinions and values of society. However this
cannot be the case when you consider all the people that are not allowed to
be on a jury. All the people eliminated, challenged, excused; all those who
do not fit within the guidelines of being able to sit on a jury. Therefore the
jury can never truly be a cross section of society.

rmagdale | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie
Posted October 20, 2011 at 8:13 PM (Answer #10)
Advantages of trial by jury
1. As there are many persons from different background, the individual
prejudices are likely to cancels out.
2. Juries represent the common public and therefore are more likely to
judge in line with generally accepted values of the society.
3. Discussions among juries is likely to lead to more thorough
consideration of all aspects of the case.
4. It is more difficult to corrupt 12 juries through than just one judge.
Disadvantages of trial by jury
1. The juries are not knowledgeable about the law.
2. Juries do not have any special skill in giving judging cases.
3. Since the decision by jury is a group decision, individual members of
the jury may not feel that responsible about their duties and
therefore neglect it.
4. Juries may be swayed by the current prejudices in the society,
which are not supported by law.

This is an excellent post.

johnmc4 | eNotes Newbie
Posted December 10, 2011 at 4:50 AM (Answer #12)
Could anyone tell me if the celebrity factor means famous defendants will
always opt for a trial by jury ?

Let's take for example the Michael Jackson 1993 civil trial; the lawsuit
reached a settlement before Jackson was about to testify; had there been
no settlement, would Jackson's lawyers have opted for a trial by jury, trying
to capitalise on Jackson's fame ?

Who decides whether it's a trial by jury or by judge ?

loraaa | Student | Valedictorian
Posted January 1, 2012 at 5:39 AM (Answer #13)
This topic is very great, thank you very much for this good effort. I
have benefited a lot from it. I wish everyone to benefit from this
excellent topic. Thank you again....
Join to answer this question
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A Level Law
Law made easy


Notes: Jury Selection and Qualification Jury full notes Jury
role in Court Advantages & Disadvantages of jury

Task: Watch the video below and complete the worksheet at the same time,
which is attached.

Jury service
A member of a jury listens to evidence and decides on the guilt or innocence of a
defendant in a Crown court trial. They are part of a group of 12 jury member
chosen totally at random from the electoral register.

A jury member will receive a summons to do jury service which asks for
detailed information about the citizen. This must be returned within 7 days. Jury
service last for 10 working days. Trials last for on average between 2-3 days so
jury members may sit on more than one case.

Jury service is unpaid. However jury members can claim for travel expenses,
meals and loss of earnings. If the jury member does not turn up for jury service
this will a criminal offence with a fine of upto 1000.

The rules governing who can qualify to be a jury member are contained in
the Juries Act 1974.


1. Jury members need no formal qualifications or legal qualifications.
2. Since the Criminal Justice Act 2003 judges, lawyers, police officers and
doctors must also attend jury service.
3. A jury member must be aged 18-69.
4. Resident in UK, least 5 years since age 13 years.

Task: Read the attached article and write down:

1. How many people are called for jury service each year?
2. What is the proposed age limit for jury service?
3. Why are the government seeking this change to the law?


Serious criminal convictions, e.g. If been in prison in the last 10 years.
Those on bail (Criminal Justice Act 2003).

Excusal:( off list for 1yr)

Right of excusal means you can legally decide not to sit as a jury member, e.g.
military personnel and those that have sat on a jury in the last 2 years.

Discretionary excusal can be applied for by anyone and it is upto the Jury
Central Summoning Bureau (JCSB) to decide if they accept the reason, e.g.
holiday, busy work or breastfeeding mothers.


A jury member must be deemed to have sufficient capacity to sit on a jury as
stated in the Juries Act 1974. Most people with disabilities can be accommodated
on jury service. However those who are currently detained under the Mental
Health Act 2013 in hospital cannot sit on a jury. Deaf people are also classed as
lacking capacity to sit on a jury as they will need someone to help them manage
and interpret the evidence and proceedings, the so called 13
jury member.

Task: Read the following article and give two reasons as to why this may be a
fair approach and two reasons that it may be unfair. Try this article as well.


A jury member can apply to put the jury service off for upto upto 12 months, e.g.
sitting exams


The key point about the choosing (selection) of each jury member is that it
is entirely random. This makes it as free from bias and prejudice as possible
leading to the fairest outcome to each trial.

The Central Jury Summoning Bureau (CJSB) are the government organisation
that are responsible for randomly finding jury members to sit in Crown courts,
45,000 in 2008. They do this by using the Electoral role of the area covered by
each Crown court.

The jury member is sent a jury summons and a form to complete asking for:

Criminal record
Any issues over being ineligible
Any requests for excusal or deferral.

The form is returned to the CJSB who will resolve any issues over
disqualification, ineligibility, excusal or deferral.

Jury vetting:

If a jury member is known to have very bias political views then the CJSB can
ask the police to check the jurors background though this rare, e.g. BNP or
Communist party. This has been challenged on the grounds of being an invasion
of privacy but the Court of Appeal said that it is lawful in the case of R v McCann.

The CJSB then send the jury member a specific summons to attend court for 10
working days with a start date, normally a Monday.

Once at court the jury clerk will choose 15 jury members at random, known as
the jury in waiting, who are then taken to the court that they will sit on. The jury
member names are written on cards that are shuffled randomly to ensure a fair
and unbias choice. Finally, 12 are chosen from the 15 jury members to form the
jury. If the case will last longer than the 10 days of jury service they will be given
the option not to sit on this particular trial.

Challenging a jury or jury member:

1. Against entire jury for biased or unrepresentative selection either by
the P or D: As seen in 1993: the "Romford" jury were excused because 9
out of the 12 came from Romford, with 2 living in the same street.
2. Against an individual juror for cause by P or D: The challenging part
must give a valid reason e.g. juror is disqualified or knows, (is related to)
the defendant or a witness.
3. By prosecution only: "stand by " juror : a right which enables such jurors
to be put to the end of the list of potential jurors at court, and only used if
there are not enough other jurors. This right should be used sparingl

All such challenges go against the idea of random selection. However, even the
current process of random selection does not necessarily provide a cross-section
of society. (As seen in the "Romford" jury case above).

NOTE: There is no right to "hand-pick" the jury: R v Ford (1989) held there is no
right to a multi-racial jury as long as jury chosen totally at random. This also
applies to juries all of one gender.
The Law on Juries
To get top marks on jury questions, refer to the following statutes...

When answering a question
Refer to...

Qualification for jury service

The Juries Act 1974, as amended by the Criminal Justice Act
1988, states that jurors must:
Be aged between 18 and 70
Be on the electoral register
Be resident in UK for at least 5 years since the age of 13
Not have served a prison or community sentence in the last
10 years
Never have served more than 5 years in prison
Not currently be on bail

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 disqualifies those suffering from
a mental illness who are resident in hospital, or have regular
treatment by a medical practitioner, from jury service

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 also abolished excusal by
right. This means that clergymen, lawyers, police officers and
even judges qualify for jury service. The only group that has
excusal by right those aged between 65 and 70. Anyone else
wishing to be excused must apply to the court, and excusal will
be at the courts discretion.
The role or function of a jury
in a criminal trial

The Criminal Justice Act 1967 states that a jury can deliver a
majority verdict of 10:12 or 11:12 if they cannot reach a
unanimous verdict.

Task: Complete the following question on the qualification of jurors, using
the plan attached.

Question: June 2013: Describe how jurors qualify and are selected for service
in a Crown Court trial .(10)
Task: Complete the quiz on qualification and selection of jurors in the Crown
court by following this link.

Work and role of jury
What the jury do
Juries are used in all serious criminal cases (indictable offences) and have the
sole responsibility for determining guilt of the Defendant.

The jury member is first sworn in to work as a member of 12 randomly selected
panel who listen to the evidence in criminal cases in the Crown Court. They have
no formal qualifications Jurors must be listen to evidence from the prosecution
and defence for which they can take written notes. They can also ask questions
of witnesses through the judge. At the end of the case by the prosecution and
defence closing speeches will be made and the judge will summarise the case
and explain the relevant legal issues, including a structured set of questions to
assist them if it is a difficult case.

The jurys function is to weigh up the evidence and decide what are the true facts
of a case in Crown court. They then make either a guilty or not guilty verdict
as to whether the D has committed the offence.
The jury then retire to the jury room and elect a foreperson to speak to the court
on their behalf. No reasons can be given for a jurys verdict.

How the jury come to a decision
The Contempt of Court Act 1981 makes the disclosure of what happens in the
jury room a criminal offence so no discussion of how the final decision is reached
or what was discussed can be mentioned to anyone outside the jury.

Since the Criminal Justice Act 1967 there are 3 verdicts a jury can give. A
unanimous verdict is the verdict the judge will ask for at the end of the trial. If the
jury cannot agree one verdict between all 12 of them then, after minimum of 2
hours, the judge can accept either a 10 out of 12 or 11 out of 12 verdict (about
20% of convictions each year).

The judges role in the case

The judge will try and explain the law in simple terms to the jury and direct them
as to what evidence is important and acceptable when they are thinking of the
innocence or guilt of the defendant.
At the end of the prosecutions case or the whole case the judge may decide
there isnt enough evidence for the defendant to be convicted beyond
reasonable doubt and in these circumstances the judge will direct(tell) the jury to
return a formal verdict of not guilty. This known as a directed acquittal.

However a judge cannot in any circumstances force a jury to make a guilty
verdict, as confirmed in the case of R v Wang. In this case Wang was charged
with having an article with a blade or point in a public place, he was found with a
Shaolin knife in his bag on a train station platform. His defence was he carried
the knife to practice his Buddhist religion so evidence he owned the blade and
therefore had committed the offence was beyond doubt. The judge directed the
jury to find Wang guilty and the D appealed as a result. Wang argued that the
jury should be allowed to decide on the evidence as to what a fair verdict was
regardless of what the law says should be the outcome of the case. The appeal
was allowed, the House of Lords agreeing with Wang and stating that no one is
allowed to tell a jury to find a guilty verdict, including the judge.

Question: June 2009: Katie has been charged with assault occasioning actual
bodily harm, an either way criminal offence.Briefly describe the role magistrates
and jurors play in her case (10)
Advantages and Disadvantages of Juries

Advantages of the Jury System

Long established trial by peers which has public confidence

Lord Devlin, a famous House of Lords judge, has said that trial by jury is the
lamp that shows that freedom lives, arguing that a defendant has the right to be
tried by his peers.
Supporters of this view maintain that a jury will exercise common sense rather
than slavishly follow the law. For example the case of R v Wang W was charged
with having an article with a blade or point in a public place, he was found with a
Shaolin knife in his bag on a train station platform. His defence was he carried
the knife to practice his Buddhist religion so evidence he owned the blade and
therefore had committed the offence was beyond doubt. The judge directed the
jury to find Wang guilty and the D appealed as a result. Wang argued that the
jury should be allowed to decide on the evidence as to what a fair verdict was
regardless of what the law says should be the outcome of the case. The appeal
was allowed, the House of Lords agreeing with Wang and stating that no one is
allowed to tell a jury to find a guilty verdict, including the judge. A jury only have
to make a decision based on what it fair and common sense and as they are not
paid by anyone such as the government, they are free from political interference
and bias.

The fairness of an open trial

The Public also have confidence as the jury members are not trained and are
trusted due to less professional involvement. 85% of those polled by the Bar
Council in 2003 had confidence in jury verdicts showing that this system of
delivering criminal justice is supported by a large section of society as being fair.
For example in R v Kronlid and Others (1996) a group of people were charged
with criminal damage to a Hawk Fighter Plane. They did so because the plane
was going to be sold to the Indonesian government, and there was a high risk
that they would use it to carry out genocide against East Timor. The jury clearly
believed that they were morally in the right, and so acquitted them.
The jury decide the case in an open court so there can be no bias or no
perception of bias in giving their verdict as any member of the public can watch.
As it is a public duty for which jury members do not get paid their verdicts are
seen as apolitical.

Jury Equity
The jury only has to decide the case on their view of what is fair so unlike judges
and lawyers the law is not as important. The word equity is simply another term
for fair.
For example in the case of R v Ponting The case revolved around the Falklands
conflict and the sinking of an Argentinian ship called the Belgrano, by a UK
submarine. Clive Ponting, who had worked at the Ministry of Defence, walked
free from court after a jury cleared him of breaking the Official Secrets Act.
Ponting had been charged with leaking an internal MoD document concerning
the General Belgrano, the Argentinian cruiser which British forces sank during
the 1982 Falklands War, killing 360 people.
The government line had been that the Belgrano was threatening British lives
when it was sunk. But the document leaked by Ponting indicated it was sailing
out of the exclusion zone. Its publication was a huge embarrassment for Lady
Thatcher's government.
The judge had 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 publics 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.

The elimination of bias
The jury are chosen totally at random with no link to the case. Sitting as a group
of 12 cancels out any potential bias from 1 member. Sir Sebag Shaw said a jury
is anonymous and independent and as jury service is a civic duty with no
payment decisions are as free from external interference and bias as possible.
Discussions in jury room are also protected by law and no reasons can be given
for the verdict delivered by the jury that can be challenged. This means decisions
made by the jury are as free bias as is possible helping achieve the fairest verdict
for the defendant based on the evidence heard.

Disadvantages of the Jury System

Media pressure
Coverage of high profile cases may influence a jury decision because they are
likely to have been reported in the media for a considerable amount of time
before the case even comes to court. This makes it hard for the jury to only use
evidence presented in the case.
For example in the case of R v West the first killing happened in 1967 with West
only being charged in 1994. Throughout this period local and national
newspapers had reported on missing persons related to the case and clearly the
jury risk being influenced by this press coverage. West tried to argue that this in
itself denied her a right to a fair trial in front of a jury but the Court of Appeal held
that correct directions by the judge to the jury would ensure fairness prevailed.
Fred & Rosemary West video
However, with high profile cases of jury members allegedly doing their own
research clearly media pressure is still a potential disadvantage of using jury
members who do not have the professional training to resist such influences. See
the Joanna Fraill case.

Joanna Fraill facebook case
Task: Watch the video and then give three reasons for and against being able to
use social media whilst being a member of a jury in a trial.
Perverse verdicts
A perverse verdict is a decision of a jury which runs altogether contrary to the
evidence presented before it. In other words if we accept the majority of society
to decide the case it would be at odds with the decision given by the jury in the
specific case.
As the jury cannot by law give reasons for its decisions or discuss its reasons for
a verdict some jury verdicts appear to run contrary to what would be described as
a fair outcome in a case.
For example in the case of Randle & Pottle v R. Both Ds assisted a famous spy
George Blake escape from prison and wrote a book about the escape. The jury
acquitted them even though they had admitted in the book of their guilt in
committing the offence. As the jury did not give any reason for this not guilty
verdict clearly the clear evidence of the Ds committing the offence printed in their
book seemed to show compelling evidence to find them guilty, hence this being
regarded as a perverse verdict.
Russian spy George Blake

Complexity of cases
Juries are legally untrained members of the public and therefore is some cases
have difficulty understanding complicated evidence.
This may partially account for high acquittal rates of 36%. In fraud cases a lot of
high profile cases have collapsed due to technical nature of evidence and the
inability of jury members to be able to understand what has happened, so they
can make a judgment as to guilt.
For example a Jury couldn't reach a verdict in 150m fraud case where Ds
convinced investors to buy complex financial contracts which were worthless.
This shows that for some cases juries may not be the best choice where
evidence is very complicated as jury members may fail to understand the
evidence very well, compared to a legally trained judge.
Task: Read the article on the 150m fraud case and complete the
worksheet associated with it.
'Mr Big' of UK cyber-crime among gang of eight arrested over 1.3million
Barclays computer hijack plot in carbon copy of Santander scam
Jury Secrecy may mean bias

Jury give no reason for verdict and cannot discuss any views expressed in jury
room. Leaves the process open to prejudice and bias in coming to a decision.

In a recent survey undertaken by University College London 23% of jury
members were unsure as to whether they could use the internet to research
cases they sat on. 5% of jury members surveyed admitted to discussing the case
they were sitting on social media and clearly such research and discussion may
prejudice the discussions of one or more jury members into making a bias
decision unrelated to the evidence in the case.

For example in the case of R v Young. Four of the jurors are said to have used
Ouija board to contact one of the defendant's alleged victims to find out whether
the defendant had killed them. Clearly this wasnt based on evidence in the case
and was 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 Contempt of Court Act
makes it a criminal offence to reveal how a decision on guilt is made by the jury
such secrecy could mean bias.
Task: Complete the following exam question using 4 advantages of jurors.Make
sure each paragraph gives a point, evidence and then why the evidence proves
the advantage:
Discuss the advantages of using jurors in the criminal justice system

Task: Complete the quiz on advantages and disadvantages of using jurors in the
criminal justice system by following this link.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Lay People
used in the Criminal Justice System

A lay person in this context is someone who has not been legally trained. The
topic will be a combination of Magistrates and Juries.
There are no new advantages or disadvantages to discuss.
The key to doing well in an essay combining both juries and magistrates is to
make sure you do examples for both.
For a question on advantages, for example, you must do two advantages of
magistrates and two of juries to score full marks.

Task: Complete the following exam question following the rules mentioned
Discuss the disadvantages of using lay people int the criminal justice process

Task: Watch the video below and complete the worksheet at the same time,
which is attached.

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Police Beat
Jury or Judge: Advantages and
disadvantages of bench, jury trials
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Posted: Monday, February 20, 2012 7:30 pm
Jury or Judge: Advantages and disadvantages of bench, jury trials Melissa
Mastrogiovanni Northern Star
Right to trial by jury may be a fundamental right under the Constitution, but choosing
between a jury trial or a bench trail can make the difference between guilty or not
Many factors play into the decision to choose a jury trial or a bench trial, said
Stephanie Klein, DeKalb County assistant state's attorney.
Benefits of Jury
If attorneys want an emotional decision, they usually would be better off with a jury,
said law professor David Taylor.
Regarding the rules of filtering out prejudicial evidence, a jury trial may be a better
strategy than a bench trial. According to the Lawyerist website, a blog on lawyer
practices, a judge ultimately has the authority to exclude certain prejudicial evidence
from being presented in trial. However, the judge must first see or hear the evidence
in question in order to rule on the motion, thus risking prejudice the rules seek to
The judge also gives the jury instructions on the law, said attorney Sean Smith, of
Smith, Wykes & Oncken, P.C., 513 W. State St. in Sycamore. So, even if jurors have
no legal background, they can still decide the case based on law.
Elected judges sometimes have to answer to voters about the decisions they make,
Taylor said. However, jurors only have to answer to themselves.
"I think for the most part, juries try - at least in DeKalb County - very hard to do what
they're supposed to do," Klein said.
Benefits of Bench
Bench trials, on the other hand, can move along somewhat quicker than jury trials,
Taylor said.
"The actual trial process in a bench trial is somewhat more expedited because you
don't have to go through jury selection," Taylor said.
The judge also has years of experience in the courtroom and may know things the jury
does not. For example, many judges know eye witness identifications may not be as
reliable, Taylor said. Also, written testimonies acquired through interrogation may not
be as reliable.
"I think the average jury would think no one would say they did something if they
didn't," Taylor said.
However, the judge knows and has seen it happen many times, Taylor said.
Judges, unlike jurors, have to follow a Code of Judicial Ethics, Taylor said. If they
can't be impartial in a case, then they are supposed to remove themselves from a case.
This can happen if a judge and an attorney are family members.
However, whether a trail is heard by a jury or judge, there are still instances of
wrongful convictions in Illinois.
According to a seven-month investigation in 2011 by the Better Government
Association and the Northwestern University School of Law's Center on Wrongful
Convictions, "Wrongful convictions of men and women for violent crimes in Illinois
have cost taxpayers $214 million and have imprisoned innocent people for 926
years... The financial toll was calculated by adding the costs of incarceration in jails
and prisons, compensation paid to the wrongfully convicted by the state in the wake
of exoneration, and civil litigation costs (lawyers fees, expert witness fees, and
judgments and settlements)."
Wrongful convictions happen due to a variety of factors, from erroneous witness
testimonies to new evidence surfacing.
Convictions in heinous crimes are usually given more scrutiny, Smith said, which is
why wrongful convictions of these heinous crimes are uncommon.
"Those cases make national news because they are so rare," Smith said.

More aboutBench Trial
ARTICLE: Four witnesses called in first day of McCullough trial
ARTICLE: McCullough requests bench trial
More aboutStephanie Klein
ARTICLE: Curl will continue to fight to withdraw guilty plea
ARTICLE: Bail reduction denied for man connected to shooting
ARTICLE: Bond reduction denied for Teagues
ARTICLE: Genoa man found guilty of murder could serve up to 60 years in

Posted in Police beat on Monday, February 20, 2012 7:30 pm. | Tags:Bench Trial,Jury
Trial,Stephanie Klein,David Taylor,Sean Smith,Melissa Mastrogiovanni,Dekalb


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