Jury System Essay
Jury System Essay
A jury is a body of people, which consists of twelve citizens who must apply their common sense to deliberate and determine a verdict of guilty or not guilty during a trial1. Having the jury system involves the community in the administration of justice2 and works as a barrier between the state and the accused to reduce the possibility of tyranny3. It has been stated that juries are inconvenient, unrepresentative and an expensive system that should be abolished. The fundamentals of the jury system will be researched, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of having a jury to determine whether this statement is correct.
As Section 80 of the Australian Constitution states, The trial on indictment of any offence against any law of the Commonwealth shall be by jury, and every such trial shall be held in the State where the offence was committed, and if the offence was not committed within any State the trial shall be held at such place or places as the Parliament prescribes7. William the Conqueror originally introduced juries to England in 1066, but it wasn’t until the 14th century that they fulfilled their current role as determiner of fact in a case2. Juries have adapted over time, and now, a jury is a group of 12 citizens between the age of 18 and 70, which have been selected at random off the electoral roll for the House of Assembly2. These people can then be disqualified, ineligible, or challenged by a lawyer2. Juries are only used in indictable offences, which are heard in the District or Supreme Court2. Juries are only used in a minority of criminal cases, because most cases are heard in the Magistrates Court, defendants had pleaded guilty to the crime or the defendant had chosen to be trialled just by a Judge2. A jury’s role is to listen carefully to evidence in court, and deliberate a verdict of guilty, or not guilty.
As mentioned previously, having a jury system makes the community participate directly into the administration of justice, and connects citizens to the constitution3. It also spreads the weight of responsibility, and individual bias can be ruled out when sharing the decision making, rather than having one judge6. The jury system simultaneously reflects the community’s values. Having ordinary community members make the decisions theoretically exhibits broad community values, and is likely to be accepted by the community6. Furthermore, jury trials educate jurors about the justice system. Generally people who serve on juries have a greater respect for the system when they leave. It gives people an insight into the justice system and their community, as well as it corrects any misinterpretation about what happens in the courtroom3.
The guarantee of trial by jury reflects a profound judgement about the way the law should be enforced, and justice administered4. It is a right to be trialled by jury in order to intercept any oppression by the Government. It gives the...