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In NSW, juries are used to hear most

indictable offences where a plea of not


guilty is entered, and may be used in either
the District or Supreme Court.

Many of the rules for juries are found in the
Jury Act 1977 (NSW)

A jury is a panel of citizens, selected
randomly from the electoral roll.

Their job can be described as fact-finding

A criminal trial involved a jury of 12 people.

In a criminal trial, both the prosecution and
defence can challenge either the selection of
the entire panel of jurors or individual jurors.

They can also exercise a certain number of
peremptory challenges (When the legal
team strikes a juror without needing a
specific reason)

Challenging the selection of a juror can be
difficult:
Neither side knows anything about them in advance
apart from their names
Peremptory challenges are usually based on nothing
more than name or appearance.

Challenges for cause - challenged based on
the person:
Not being qualified to serve on a jury
Being ineligible or disqualified
Being suspected of bias (juror could be acquainted
with the defendant or has been a victim of a similar
crime)

Australian citizens
Aged 18 years or over

Exemptions:
Aged over 65 years
Pregnant
Care for children full-time
People who do not speak English
Emergency service staff members
Disabled people
Convicted criminals
Members of the legal profession
Jurors are sworn in before a court case begins

Their role is:
To listen to the evidence given in court
Apply the law as directed by the judge
Come to a verdict innocent or guilty

Jurors can take notes for use when
deliberating
They cannot talk to anyone about their case
except for fellow jurors when they are all
together

They can ask for clarification from the judge

They must be unbiased and impartial and make a
judgement bases solely on the evidence they are
presented with

A foreperson is elected to speak on behalf of all
the jurors
They must remain fair and open-minded
when reaching their decision.

Not be influenced by:
Media
Own personal beliefs

When deliberating over verdicts, the jury has
no set time limits they are encouraged to
take their time and discuss court
proceedings.
Sometimes it is easy for the jury to arrive at a
decision, other times they can deliberate for days

A jury that is unable to reach a verdict is called a
hung jury in these situations there will be a
retrial

Disadvantages of a hung jury?

(if the accused is held on remand during the trial,
it may result in an extended period of custody)

In 2006, the NSW Parliament amended the
Jury Act 1977 (NSW) with the Jury Amendment
(Verdicts) Act 2006 (NSW)

The Act allowed for majority verdicts of
eleven to one or ten to one to be allowed,
where reasonable time for deliberation has
passed and the court is satisfied that a
unanimous verdict will not be reached.

The Act does not apply to Commonwealth
offences.

NSW has previously a long-standing system
of unanimous verdicts in criminal trial.

Arguments for the change to majority
include:
Removing rogue or unreasonable jurors who are
unrepresentative of the community
Avoiding time delays
Avoiding costs
The stress on the victim is reduced (avoiding retrial)

Arguments against majority verdicts:
Discounting the possibility of finding a reasonable
doubt decision if only one juror is disagreeing
Disagreements are rare
Majority verdicts may change jury deliberations
from the beginning of the case