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Archive for May, 2010

‘Law plan would remove juries from more trials’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 13 May 2010)

This might have profound implication for the nature of criminal justice system in the state of New South Wales.

Law plan would remove juries from more trials‘ (Sydney Morning Herald, 13 May 2010)

The media report centres on a parliamentary inquiry ordered by the NSW Attorney-General, John Hazistegoras, to investigate the possibility of removing juries from many types of criminal trials.  Since this is still in the realm of parliamentary inquiry, we are really swimming in the realm of speculation.  What is clear from this media report is that the current jury system needs reform.

Jury system has been an integral part of the our adversarial criminal justice system for centuries.  It is based on the long established notion that crimes are offences against the community and therefore defendants in a criminal trial should tried by a jury panel who represents the community.  Trial by jury has been regarded as a legal right that protects defendants.

However, it is becoming apparent that the current system is not working too well.

Critics say juries are overwhelmed by complex cases where there is extensive technical or scientific evidence. There are also concerns that jurors may let emotion cloud their judgment or be intimidated or bullied into a decision.

Several-high-profile trials have been aborted because jurors fell ill, looked up the case on the internet or went on their own illicit fact-finding missions.

In some circumstances, particularly if a case centres on an issue that requires the application of objective community standards, it may be more appropriate to have the trial before a jury rather than a judge alone,” Mr Hatzistergos said.

“But it may be less essential where cases are particularly long and complex and place a heavy burden on the jury.’

Jurors after all, are humans.  In fact they are mere mortals who often have no legal training apart from this provided by the court.  I am inclined to agree with some of these criticisms levelled at the current jury system in NSW.

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Answers to Multiple-Choice Questions in class

May 5, 2010 1 comment

Here are the answers to  the set of 46 multiple-choice questions you were given in class.  

Link: multiple-choice -answers

Attempt the questions before you check the answers.

Categories: law and society

Revision Notes for Year 11 Legal Studies Half-Yearly Exam

May 4, 2010 1 comment

Please find here the link here to Year 11 legal studies half yearly – prep notes.

You may post follow-up comments here, or email me at aston.kwok@det.nsw.edu.au if you require further assistance.

More to come later, including:

  • Explanation of the multiple-choice questions;
  • Some practice revision questions;
  • Other miscellaneous stuff.
Categories: law and society