Pros and Cons of the use of the Jury

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  • Juries: pros and cons
    • Cons
      • Perverse Decisions
        • R v Randie and Pottle (1991) the jury acquitted them, despite the fact that they had written a book admitting to their crimes.
      • Secrecy
        • The jury deliberate in secret and don't give a reason for their decision. R c Mizra (2004) demonstrates the strict role that the CoA is to ignore juror gossip.
        • s8 Contempt of courts Act (1981) You cannot takd about what happened in the jury room.
        • However, the criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 allows discussion during investigations into juror misconduct.
      • Events Outside the Jury Room
        • R v Young (1995) the jurors used an Ouija board to contact the dead in the hotel room and based their decision on this.
      • Extraneous Materials.
        • Information from the internet was used in R v Karakaya (2005) The retrial without the extra 'research' resulted in an acquittal.
      • Racial Bias
        • Sanders v UK (2000) was an appeal against a hearing being allowed to take place even though there were reports of extremely racist jokes amongst the jurors.
      • Media Coverage
        • R v West (1996) West was not allowed to appeal on the basis that the media coverage was too intense to make the trial fair.
        • R v Taylor and Taylor (1993) the jury convicted the sisters based on a misleading picture in the media.
      • Lack of Understanding: Cheryl Thomas found that only 31% of jurors understood their case.
      • Fraud cases are complicated and long.
        • Domestic violence, crime and Victims Act 2004 allows complicated fraud cases with many indictments to have a sample tried by a jury and then if convicted, the rest tried by the judge.
      • Jury Tampering
        • s44 Criminal Justice Act 2003 allows the Prosecution to request a trial by judge alone when there has already been evidence of jury tampering.
          • R v Twomey and others (2009) was the first use.
          • The CoA denied this in R v KS (2010) as the tampering was opportunity rather than planned and could be easily remedied.
        • The criminal Procedure and investigations Act 1996 allows for retrail after the fact.
      • High Acquittal Rate (although not always the jury - 50% is before the jury is sworn in, 10-15% is on judge's recommendation.)
      • People don't like jury service so might rush it.
      • Causes an emotional strain on the jurors.
        • After the Rosemary West trial jurors were offered free counselling.
      • Slow and Expensive
      • Results are inconsistent - especially in dishonesty trials.
    • Pros
      • Public Confidence
      • Democratic
      • Jury Equity
        • Pointing's Case (1985) D would have been prosecuted under s2 of the Official Secrets act 1911 but the jury found him not guilty.
        • R v Kromlid (1996) the jury refused to prosecute for damage done to a plane that was to be used against civilian populations.
        • Lezley Gibson (2000)
      • Open System of Law: as facts are explained to members of the public the law is made more understandable.
      • Secrecy
        • Under the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 it is an offence to try and find out what was discussed in the jury room.
      • Impartiality: no-one is case-hardened and individual prejudices are cancelled out.
      • Cross-section of Society


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