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Trust the Jury.

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Dermot Report 22 Feb 2013 11:24

I’m amazed at my own 'fundamental deficit of understanding' in relation to the jury process. Apparently, jury members cannot be questioned as to how they come to a decision & their deliberations in the jury room remain secret.

Is the UK jury system being undermined by the recent case of so-called incompetent jury members? Should we adopt, for example, the South African court protocol where juries do not exist?


AnninGlos Report 22 Feb 2013 11:28

I did think the list of questions asked by that jury were a bit worrying. Things that should have been obvious to them. And, no we should not do away with juries but maybe in our multicultural society we should be looking at a basic 'test' for jurors to ascertain if they understand the proceedings and what they are responsible for. To dismiss and retry costs an awful lot of time and money.


AnnCardiff Report 22 Feb 2013 11:28

we have to have juries - those on trial must be judged by their peers - the jury referred to seem to have been particularly dim in the extreme


Muffyxx Report 22 Feb 2013 11:30

I agree with Ann...maybe a test to ensure they are fit for purpose..I mean I did laugh at some of the questions...but it was bl**dy worrying one should have to face a jury that can't grasp the concept of really basic instructions.

♥†۩ Carol   Paine ۩†♥

♥†۩ Carol Paine ۩†♥ Report 22 Feb 2013 11:52

I have been on jury service & found the time locked in the room making our decision very hard as the stronger characters among us just would not listen to the rest of us.

For example:
How could the accused NOT realize that there was a large silver cigarette box in his jacket pocket!


AnnCardiff Report 22 Feb 2013 12:10

I've done jury service too and thankfully we were all like minded


Robert Report 22 Feb 2013 12:23

The education system has let people down, . How many people know how the court system work. How many people know how central or local goverment works. The main problem the people and the goverment are so far a part, because people have not be listerned to ar taken notice of , and the nanny state tell people what they can and cant do, what they can and cant say, what they can and cant eat............ but did the judge sum up properly , but i think this jury was the acception rather than the rule


AnninGlos Report 22 Feb 2013 12:28

From reports I think the judge summed up properly and by all accounts was very patient. I am not sure these days of the criteria for Jury service, given that so many people live in UK who were not born here (gosh it is like walking on eggshells writing anything these days!) But I wonder how many of that jury had actually been through the UK education system Robert?


RolloTheRed Report 22 Feb 2013 13:02

Part of the problem is that the CPS have developed a habit of holding a lot of high profile trials at Southwark.

Juries are always recruited from fairly near to the court. Anybody who knows tuppence about London will know that a great many people who live in the Lambeth / Southwark area have scant knowledge of jury trials or even fair trials and will have little idea why they are there.

If the CPS must have preferred courts fitted up with security etc. then they should choose somewhere where the jurors will be more representative of the UK as a whole rather than Southwark or maybe they could recruit over a wider area e.g. Greater London.

The jury concept relies on being tried by a jury of one's peers. The typical jury makeup in Southwark is a long long way from Mz Pryce's peers. The defence can object to jurors before the trial. In the US this process sometimes takes weeks but afaik is limited to three objections in England & Wales.


OneFootInTheGrave Report 22 Feb 2013 13:42

I have never been a great fan pf the way some of the criminal cases are dealt with in England. I may be right and I may be wrong as I am not an expert in English Criminal Law. To me it seems that no matter how minor the offence, in England you always have the right to be tried by a jury, even when you have been caught red-handed committing a criminal offence, and many abuse this right.

In Scotland, where I come from, they have two methods of dealing with criminal offences, one is by Summary Procedure and the other is by the Solemn Procedure.

By far the majority of the less serious criminal offences in Scotland are dealt with using the Summary Procedure where the case is heard by a Sheriff without a jury, and I don't think this has changed.

The case for the prosecution is made by the Procurators Fiscal who has a duty to disclose all the facts, both those against the accused and those in favour of the accused.

In Summary Procedures the Sheriff can impose a jail term of three months, in some cased six months. This puts a stop to individuals abusing the legal process to get bail and be free to commit other offences while they await trial by a jury, it also saves a lot of court time.

As I have said before - I like being controversial ;-)


eRRolSheep Report 22 Feb 2013 13:46

I loved the answers given by Mr Justice Sweeney - at times he sounded almost exasperated.


OneFootInTheGrave Report 22 Feb 2013 13:54

I just shook my head when I read about them asking if they could take into account information that they had not heard in court :-(


Merlin Report 22 Feb 2013 14:13

Well after reading about it in the Press.I though "Mac,s" sketch in the mail today probably summed up that jury. :-D


Island Report 22 Feb 2013 14:37

Rollo, I did jury service at Southwark and I don't live in Lambeth or Southwark, neither did the majority of jurors on the two cases I was called for. No-one had a problem with understanding why they were there and what their role was.

I find your sweeping comment offensive and ill informed.


RolloTheRed Report 22 Feb 2013 15:46

Lambeth and Southwark are indeed separate London boroughs adjoining each other.

According to HM Courts service this is the catchment area for Southwark Crown Court.

Southwark DA14
Southwark DA15
Southwark DA16
Southwark DA5
Southwark E12
Southwark E16
Southwark E6
Southwark E7
Southwark EC1
Southwark EC2
Southwark HA9
Southwark N1
Southwark N19
Southwark N4
Southwark N5
Southwark N6
Southwark N7
Southwark NW1
Southwark NW10
Southwark NW2
Southwark NW3
Southwark NW5
Southwark NW6
Southwark NW8
Southwark SE1
Southwark SE11
Southwark SE13
Southwark SE14
Southwark SE15
Southwark SE16
Southwark SE17
Southwark SE18
Southwark SE19
Southwark SE2
Southwark SE21
Southwark SE22
Southwark SE23
Southwark SE24
Southwark SE26
Southwark SE28
Southwark SE4
Southwark SE5
Southwark SE6
Southwark SE8
Southwark SE9
Southwark SW1
Southwark SW1A
Southwark SW1E
Southwark SW1H
Southwark SW1P
Southwark SW1V
Southwark SW1W
Southwark SW1X
Southwark SW1Y
Southwark SW10
Southwark SW11
Southwark SW12
Southwark SW3
Southwark SW4
Southwark SW5
Southwark SW7
Southwark SW8
Southwark W1
Southwark W1A
Southwark W1B
Southwark W1C
Southwark W1D
Southwark W1F
Southwark W1G
Southwark W1H
Southwark W1J
Southwark W1K
Southwark W1N
Southwark W1R
Southwark W1S
Southwark W1T
Southwark W1U
Southwark W1W
Southwark W1Y
Southwark W10
Southwark W11
Southwark W12
Southwark W14
Southwark W2
Southwark W3
Southwark W4
Southwark W5
Southwark W8
Southwark W9
Southwark WC1
Southwark WC2
Southwark WC2A
Southwark WC2B
Southwark WC2E
Southwark WC2H
Southwark WC2N
Southwark WC2R

Who lives in Southwark?
Pupils ethnic background 2005
White 33% Mixed 8% Chinese 1% Asian 5% Black or Black British 48% Other 5% (rounded)
Source: Southwark Borough Council


eRRolSheep Report 22 Feb 2013 15:47

I think I'll read that later over a coffee lol


RolloTheRed Report 22 Feb 2013 15:57

i.e. Southwark takes its jurors from all over Greater London
eg "Southwark N1 " means Southwark Crown Court, N1 London Postal District (Islington etc).

I had the great pleasure of attending the court a few years after it opened, an interesting experience. I have served as a juror thought not at this court.

Jurors are not supposed to swap information about each other e.g. where they come from, favourite football team etc etc in case such information causes them to "gang up" and this pervert the result. If either defense or prosecution became aware of such exchange of information then the judge would have no option but to declare a mistrial.

Jurors are also supposed to keep their recollections confidential.


Dermot Report 22 Feb 2013 17:55

Chris Huhne lives in the South London enclave of Clapham - just in case this matters a jot to any potential miscreant, let alone jury members.


RolloTheRed Report 22 Feb 2013 18:52

I wonder how he is going to find Wandsworth after The Stonhouse ?
I have a mate, a well known record producer who lives nearby.


eRRolSheep Report 22 Feb 2013 19:13

Who is that Rollo? Interested because currently doing some research