The end of 'trial by jury'?

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The article centred around the recent collapse of the trial of Vicky Pryce.  However, recent research into the system of trial by jury, requested by Former Director of Public Prosecutions, Lord Macdonald, has revealed that two thirds of jurors do not understand a Judge's legal direction.  The research, carried out over two years, found that jurors regularly access the internet in order to research trials.  This has always been a big no no and jurors are always warned not to do this because of the risk of miscarriages of justice.

Last year Theodora Dallas was jailed for a year after she conducted internet research into a defendant which revealed their previous court appearances, she then tried to tell her fellow jurors about what she had discovered.   Those carrying out the research recommended that jurors are given written cards which clearly explain their responsibilities throughout the trial process. Trial by jury is expensive costing the taxpayer £3,000.00 a day, once a case is sent to the Crown Court.

A number of proposals to reduce the number of cases going before a jury and the introduction of judge only trials have been put forward over the years, but these have faced strong opposition on the basis that trial by jury has served the country well for hundreds of years and delivers justice across the country daily.

I think it would be a great shame, and indeed justice, to lose trial by jury.  However, perhaps our future jurors should be better equipped and advised on how to be a juror and how to comply correctly with the jury process.  How do you propose this could be successfully achieved? 

Karen Thompson

Senior Executive

Chartered Legal Executive
Personal Injury team

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