Advantages and Disadvantages of Magistrates and Jurors

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  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Magistrates and Jurors
    • Magistrates
      • Advantages
        • Cheaper: saves the tax payer 100m a year
        • Local Knowledge: saving time by not having to explain the location of an incident.
          • Paul v DPP: Magistrates knew kerb-crawling had become a problem in their area.
        • Availability: 29,000 magistrates in the UK
        • Public Confidence: the public have a lot of confidence in magistrates.
      • Disadvantages
        • Biased: Magistrates will invariably get to know police officers.
          • Bingham Justices ex parte Jowitt: "my principle in such cases has always been to believe the evidence of the police officer."
        • Legal Advisor.
          • R v Eccles, ex parte Farrelly: the legal advisor assisted in the decisions made.
        • Sentencing Powers: 240 hours community service, £5000 fine and 6 months in jail.
    • Jurors
      • Advantages
        • Reduced State Input.
          • R v Ponting: a judge told the jury to convict as it was clearly what the law stated. The Jury thought it was in the public's interest to know the information.
        • Moral Standpoint.
          • R v Owens: jury ignored the law, decided Owens was not guilty.
        • Racially balanced: Cheryl Thomas said that juries are locally representative and ethnic minorities are not under-represented.
      • Disadvantages
        • Slow.
          • R v Pryce: it took 6 days with simple evidence and legal issues.
        • Near misses.
          • R v Grant: rapist's DNA found at every scene, defence was that the wife collected his semen and placed it at every crime scene. Majority vote - 10:2
        • Juries discussions are secret.
          • R v Young: jurors used a Ouija board to speak to one of the defendant's dead victims.


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