Disclaimer: This essay has been written by a law student and not by our expert law writers. View examples of our professional work here.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of LawTeacher.net. You should not treat any information in this essay as being authoritative.

Jury Law System

Info: 2795 words (11 pages) Essay
Published: 6th Aug 2019

Reference this

Jurisdiction / Tag(s): UK Law

The issues, which are being discussed The historic decline of trial by Jury is to be welcomed. Trial by Jury serves no useful function and should therefore be abolished. Required abolition or alteration of the Jury System urgently is necessary to secure that it maintain the relative speed of progress with the rest of the Criminal Justice System. A positive approach is needful to ensure that racist juries do not disperse the race training of Judges, and to guarantee impartiality for all, thoughtless of colour or ethnic origin.

The present system of Trial by Jury have a blemish in that it allows anyone who is eighteen years of age or older to sit on Jury. This means that people who are not peculiarly intelligent to put it generously responsive can decide upon a person’s guilt. Therefore, if it changed in order to improve the Jury System, this would ensure compliance with the European Convention for Human Right.

The independence of the Jury from Judge was established in Busshell’s [1670] case. The way in which of the Jury is constituted affects its decision- making. Service is technically obligatory. Therefore, there were until recently a wide range of circumstances in which people either were not allowed to serve, or could choose not to. Before 2004, around 480,000 people were call in annually for service.

More than half were ineligible disqualified or excused from service. For this reasons, there was concern that the composition of Juries was not representative. This contestation was not supported by investigation into Jury composition carried out by the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice in 1993, which having been brought to a conclusion that in terms of gender, ethnicity and class Juries were generally representative of the population as a whole.

In addition, the Commission did suggest that the rules of governing who could sit on a Jury should change in the objective to improve the diversity of the makeup of the Juries. Under these rules, some group such as those with certain criminal records or mental illness, member of the clergy and people who worked in the Criminal Justice System such as Judges, law to sitting on as Jury disqualified Lawyers, and police officers.

In the case of R v Abdoikov[2005] EWCA crim 1986, three cases were heard together on appeal. In two of these cases, a police officer had been on the Jury; in the third case, a Crown Prosecution Service solicitor was on the Jury. The defendants on the basis that these made the trials appear unfair.

Furthermore, the House of Lords held on appeal by the defendants from a decision of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division). Lord Woolf, CJ, Richards and Henriques JJ, on 28 July 2005. The House of Lords on 28 July 2005 dismissed the appeal of defendant Abdroikov, who had been convicted on 31 August 2004 of attempted murder after a trial at the Central Court before Judge Beaumont QC and Jury.

The House of Lords allowed the appeal of defendant Green Richard John Green who had been convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm with intent contrary to Section 18 of the Offences Against the person Act 1861, after a trial at the Crown Court at Woolwich before Judge Statman and a Jury. In addition, the House of Lords allowed the appeal of the defendant’s Williamson who had been convicted of two rapes after trial at the Crown Court at Warrington before Judge Hale and Jury.

In addition, Lord Bingham said that in Abdroikov’s case when the Jury were in retirement considering their verdict. The supervisor of the Jury sent a note to the Judge revealing that he was a serving police officer. In Williamson’s case, one of the Jurors wrote to the Court before the trial began to say that he worked for the Crown Prosecution Service and had done so since its inception in 1986.

His letter was passed to defending Counsel who south to challenge the Juror on the ground of potential bias and the defendant’s right to fair trial under Art 6 of the Convention for Protection of Human Rights Fundamental Freedoms. Judge ruled that he could see no objection to the Juror sitting in the light of the current legislation.

The Auld Report in 2001, supported the argument of the Royal Commission that these rules should be reformed in order to increase the representativeness of the Juries. This recommendation was included under the Criminal Justice Act 2003, which removed the concept of exclusion as right and abolished the categories of ineligibility.

As regards membership of a Jury, Section 321 of and Schedule 33 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003, substitutes new provisions into the Juries Act 1974 under which every person meeting the requirement to serve as a Juror in the Crown Court, the High Court and County Courts and liable to attend for Jury service if summoned.

In R v Chapman [1976] 63 CR APP R 75, after a trial at which both defendant had been found guilty by a unanimous verdict it was discovered that one Juror had been deaf so that he was unable to follow the proceeding. It was held that it did not make the verdict unsafe or unsatisfactory and therefore was the situation covered by the Juries Act 1974, section 18.

According to Lord Woolf C J, “a fair-minded and informed observer would not conclude that there was a real possibility that a Juror was biased merely because of his occupation was one which meant that he was involved in some capacity or other in the administration of Justice”. Prior To April 2004, people who were involved in the administration of Justice were ineligible to sit as Jurors; the Criminal Justice Act 2003 removed this ineligibility.

The Royal Commission recommend allowing the defence or prosecution the right to request at least one juror of the same ethnic origin as the defendant. The Auld Report supported this change but it has not to date, been implemented. In Ford [1989] 3ALL ER 445, 0n 25 July 1989,Jury convicted the defendant of two offences and acquitted him of assaults. defendant was from ethnic minority.

The Jury panel was entirely white. Defendant who was a mixed race applied for a multi-racial Jury. He appealed on the ground that the Judge was wrong in refusing the application and , inter Alia, in preventing Council form cross-examine an arresting officer about his propensity to take it out of black people rather than treating them regardless of their colour.

In this case, Lord Lane LCJ, concluded that however well intentioned the Judge’s motive might be, the Judge has no the power to influence the composition of the Jury, and that it and that it was wrong for him to attempt to do so. If it should ever become desirable that the principle of random selection should be altered, that will have to be done by way of statute and cannot be done by any judicial decision.

The Juries are often do not understand the evidence, and reach a verdict based on inappropriate criteria or methods. In one infamous case, the Court of Appeal quashed conviction when it was found that the verdict was reached using an Ouija spirit board R v Young [1995] QB 324. It was claimed by the four Juries that defendant was guilt for his murder. The conviction was quashed. The Jury are protected from pressure and outside influences when deciding verdict.

Juries role in cases of perverse finding, can decide cases on their ideas of fairness. For example in the case of R v Ponting [1984], a Civil servant leaked into to a MP on the ground of public interest. The defendant gave copy of these documents to an opposition PM so that the matter could be raised in the Parliament. Defendant was charged under the Official Secret Act 1920.

The Jury refused to convict despite no legal defence. In addition, Jury can reach perverse decision, which is not justified. Jury have refused to convict in clear-cut cases as in the case of R v Randle and Pottle [1991] Alliott J, where defendants wrote a book, 25 years later about their helping a famous spy George Blake to escape from prison. They argued that their actions were justified because of the severity of Blake’s sentence.

Obtaining reliable evidence about the overall quality of Jury verdicts is hampered by the fact that under the Contempt of Court Act 1981, it is contempt to publish or solicit for publication details of what happens in a Jury room. As illustrated in the case of Attorney General v Associated Newspapers [1994] 1 ALL ER 556, where the Mail on Sunday, published details of Juries deliberation in the Blue Arrow Fraud case.

The information had been obtained from two members of the Jury by an independent researcher who later gave transcriptions of the interviews to a Journalist. The convictions of the newspaper, its editor, and the Journalist concerned, under Section 8 of the Contempt Act 1981. It is punishable with a fine or a prison sentence. Juries deliberate and no one can inquire into what happened in the Jury room.

In the 1990s, the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice Argued for the repeal of this provision to allow for academic research into Juries and the Government indicated its support for this change. However, no progress was made on this issue until 2005 when the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, issued a consultation paper on the Jury that sought opinions on a proposal to change the law to allow research into how Jurors in England Wales reach their decision.

The European Court of Human Rights held unanimously that a trail Judges had not properly directed the Jury on the issue of the applicants silence during police interview. As consequence the applicants did not received a fair trial with the meaning of Article 6.1 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which state that everyone is entitled to a fair hearing.

In the case of Condron and others v United Kingdom [2000] they stood trial at Kingston upon Thomas Crown Court Judge by Thomas and a Jury between 16 1995 and 2 November 1995. They were convicted of supplying heroin and possession of heroin with intent to supply. At the time of their interview with police, the applicants solicitor considered that they were not fit to be questioned since they were suffering from heroin withdrawal symptoms. The doctor who examined at the police station disagreed with their solicitor’s assessment.

In addition, with reference to section 34 of the Criminal Justice and Public Oder Act 1994, the trial Judge gave the Jury the option of drawing contrary to the inference from the applicants silence during interview. The applicants were found guilty.

In this case the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Stuart-Smith, Mr Justice Mantell and Mr Justice Moses, found that the trial Judges direction to the Jury on the question of the applicants silence deficient, it was satisfied that the convictions were safe. Moreover, the application was submitted in the European Commission of Human Rights on 13 November 1996. In its judgement the European Court of Human Rights held that it Alleged violation of Article 6.1.

Successive governments, both Conservative and Labour, agreed with the view of reduction of Jury System. They have introduced a range of measures, which have reduced the role of the Jury. These changes are probably driven as much by reasons of economy as any empirically grounded assessment of the reliability of the Jury verdicts.

Legislation in the 1970s restricted the range of offences for which the defendant could elect trial by Jury. More recently, the Criminal Justice Act 1988, classified certain offences such as driving, common assault and battery as summary offence only.

Jack Straw the Justice Secretary, deal was to cut extra 2,000 Jury Trials. He says that his bill mean that Jurors were denying more defendants trial. The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham Cornhill, and the Magistrates’ Association, both supports of his plans and expressed concern of the provision. However, the change will infuriate many of the outright opponents to the bill, which removes the automatic right to Jury Trial for 18,500 defendants a year charged with middle ranking offences such as theft and burglary.

According to the Bar, government plans to cut a defendant’s right to elect Jury trial in a wide range of middle- ranking cases will hit black defendants hardest. In addition, the plans, which are strongly, opposed across the legal profession and civil liberties groups. It will remove the right to elect Jury trial for host offences including theft and grievous bodily harm, drug and indecent assaults.

Furthermore, Courtenay Griffiths, QC, of the Society of Black Lawyers said that“ the evidence is that black defendants see Magistrates Courts as police Courts. A fair hearing from randomly selected panel of Jurors greatly enhances the confidence that minority communities have in the Justice System”. He added that the inquiry of the death of Stephen Lawrence showed “ all too clear what can happen when a section of the community no longer has confidence in the Justice System”.

What is more, the decision of the Court of Appeal in R v Ford [1989] the times, 31 July, completed the process for black defendants of limiting right of trial by Jury one’s peers. Straw said that, because of his changes up to 2,000 fewer defendants would have their cases heard by Judges Juries because JPs would no longer be taking account of the impact on jobs or reputation.

He concluded that “magistrates will hear more cases”. The change will also reap extra savings of 20 million, on top of the original predicted savings of 128 million. Under the new Criminal Justice Mode of Trial number 2 bill. The changes came after the first bill suffered a heavy defeat in the House of Lords. Critics had says that the original bill would lead to two tier justice, with middle- class professionals more likely to receive a Jury trial.

The ability of Juries to follow what goes on in Court has been several times questioned. Therefore, the accusation of lack of understanding tends to arise with particular regularity in the relation to complex company law and fraud trials. Lord Justice Henry’s says that verdict on fraud trial the Juries take too long. They are without fixed limits as to time and cost. They are insufficiently concentrated on the real issue. They cost too much. They happen too late. Richard Ferguson claimed that the Juries are able to handle the issue of dishonesty, but I have very considerable doubt that they can handle technical matters.

According former Home office, Secretary John Reid the stipulated condition of the fraud trial without a Jury bill performs in harmonious with the Convention rights. He statement was under section 19(1) (a) of the Human Right Act 1998. Section 43 (2) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, provides for the prosecution for a fraud to be conducted without a Jury. Therefore, the Judge of the High Court nominated has to exercising the jurisdiction of the Crown Court.

In fraud case at Southwark Crown Court in 2003, the prosecution was Counsel Richard Latham. A female Juror sent to the prosecution a bottle of champagne and a summons to a dinner date with the question“ what does a lady need to do to attract your attention?”. The Barrister returned the gift and reported it to the Court. The defendants found a failed attempt to appeal against their conviction because the Juror had been biased of the prosecution’s favour.

Since 2004,Jurors are picked by computer that was a reform to make Jury service more efficient. A New Central summoning Bureau based in London has a direct link to police criminal records. Therefore, those Jurors with conviction are swiftly identified and disqualified.

In conclusion, there are number of reasons why the power of juries return untrue. It would not undermine public confidence in the jury, but would instead enhance it by eliminating the risk of obviously unjust judgements where the victim of the crime was for any reason the subject of public hostility, perhaps because of his race, ethnic origin, religion, or sexual tendency.

Denial of the right to direct conviction can contribute to the prosecutors to frame charges not offering the option of jury trial. It was for Parliament to ordain the law, and not for juries to resist the enforcement of laws punctually enacted. Without change in the law, the United Kingdom will continue to face challenges under Article (6) of the European Convention of Human Rights the right to a far trial.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

Related Content

Jurisdictions / Tags

Content relating to: "UK Law"

UK law covers the laws and legislation of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Essays, case summaries, problem questions and dissertations here are relevant to law students from the United Kingdom and Great Britain, as well as students wishing to learn more about the UK legal system from overseas.

Related Articles

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on LawTeacher.net then please: