Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The end of the Jury system?

It has been reported that Juries in child sex abuse and theft cases in England and Wales could soon be told whether the defendant has convictions for similar offences.

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Civil Liberties groups have protested fearing that justice will be put at risk as Juries will be swayed by previous convictions. But surely there are cases where previous convictions may be relevant. In certain trials, a Jury may believe a defendant simply isn't capable of carrying out an offence, only to find out after the event that he recently had a conviction for those very offences.

It seems to me that Civil Libertarians want to have it both ways. The feel that being judged by your peers is the safest way to ensure the justice, but at the same time want to restrict evidence available to the Jury. Do they trust them or don't they? They need to make up their mind.