Role of the Jury System in Criminal Trials: Is It Still Relevant in Today's Society?

Topics: Jury, Common law, Law Pages: 4 (1238 words) Published: August 25, 2013
What role does the Jury system play in Criminal Trials and is it still relevant in today’s society?

The jury system has been in our legal system for hundreds of years. It was first established in the 1215 Magna Carta, later in the 1679 Habeus Corpus Act and now in s80 of the Australian constitution. The jury system has played an important role in the legal system and has laid out a defining role for each aspect involving the judiciary system. In the following essay I will be disclosing the relevance and necessity that juries play in the Australian legal system. I will also discuss, what the advantages and disadvantages are by having a jury trial.

Currently the Constitution s80 states, “The trial on indictment of any offence against any law of the Commonwealth shall be by jury…” This is a defined piece of legislation meaning that any indictable offence is to be trialed by jury. The Australian legal system also follows the Adversarial System (Habeus Corpus, 1679). The Adversarial system has the use of a jury to decide on a person’s guilt or innocence. The Magna Carta 1215 was also another important legal document suggesting that their fellow peers should judge the guilt of a person. It states, “…No free man shall be seized, or imprisoned, or dispossessed, or outlawed, or in anyway destroyed; nor will we condemn him, nor will we commit him to prison, except by the legal judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land…”

Jury means a body of people sworn to give a verdict in a legal case on the basis of evidence submitted to them in court via the prosecution or defense. The twelve jurists are chosen by the electoral role. (S4 (1) and s4 (2) Jury Act 1995) The selection is normally done via computer (s16 Jury Act 1995); it has no influences and remains completely un-biased. This means that there is no secure selection of a jury, which could lead to a certain decision being made in a case. During the empanelling process both the prosecutor and defense are...
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