Should The Jury System Be Legal? Essay

1003 Words Mar 20th, 2016 5 Pages
In a criminal trial, a jury is a group usually comprised of twelve randomly chosen adults, whose role is to hear evidence, apply the law as directed by the judge, and then collectively decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty of the crime they have been accused of, based only on the facts given. Juries have played a significant role in Australia’s justice system for quite some time, though in more recent years the role of juries has been reduced. In 2011, the NSW government changed the law so that accused persons could apply for judge alone trials and, with consent from the Director of Public, avoid juries entirely (Whitbourn 2013). Currently there is much debate as to whether or not the jury system should be scrapped entirely for criminal trials in NSW.
A reason that supports the idea of scrapping the jury system is the lack of experience many jurors may have with the law, as a lack of understanding or the interference of emotions could lead to unjust decisions. Whitbourn (2013) states that more people are found guilty in trials heard by a jury than those heard by a Supreme Court judge alone, reinforcing the idea that jurors have the tendency to act on their own beliefs than those of the law.
In 2011, Roger Kingsley Dean deliberately lit a fire at the Quaker’s Hill Nursing Home which led to the death of eleven people in total, and many with serious injuries. Dean made an attempt to have the trial heard before a judge only, not a jury, but his request was denied. R…

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