A trial by jury

A trial by jury, is a lawful process in which a jury decides whether guilty or not guilty beyond reasonable doubts. It is distinguished from a bench of trial in which a judge or panel of judges makes the decisions. The jury is responsible for finding the facts of the case, while the judge determines the law of the case. Countries like France, the jury and several professional judges sits along to determine guilty first. Then, if guilty is determined they decide the appropriate penalty for the defendant . In the Judicial Reform Alexander II, it was stated that jurors can decide whether defendant is guilty or not as well as they can give guilty without punishment, since Alexander believes that justice without morality was wrong. From the very beginning, till now the whole process is still criticised. There are several arguments on-going whether it is a reliable procedure or not. The most controversial issue is that “should trial by jury be abolished or replaced by judge’s decision alone?” and what proposals have been put forward for restricting the role of juries?

The selection of jurors is too wide and spread and not competent to perform the task .The changes which were made in 1972 led to qualifying not sufficiently intelligent or educated to perform the task. In some cases, the jurors use some method which is irrelevant to the case like to use Ouija board to contact with the spirit .The juries found it a lot of easier to understand a case when a written document is presented .Only 31% jurors understood the legal meaning of the case when the written document is presented. But when jurors were given one page of judge’s discretion only 48% were able to identify correctly both questions which needed to be answered. As Professor Thomas stated in her research that the number of jurors illicitly seeking information on the internet may represent the tip of the iceberg .Again, jurors may be biased for or against the certain group or opposite sex. In the case of R v Bansal 1985 Crim. L.R. 151, the trail involved alleged assaults at an Anti-National Front demonstration. The defendant was being Asian and held that the case involved racial issues. The jury panel should be drawn from an area which has large Asian population in order to achieve multi-racial jury . Again in the case of R v Ford 1989 Q.B. 868; 1989 3 W.L.R. 762; 1989 3 All E.R. 445, the Court of Appeal held that the race of the jury can’t be taken into account when selecting the jury. Lord Lane said: “The whole essence of the jury drawn from particular sections of the community, or otherwise to influence the overall composition of the jury” . When there is a jury in a criminal case, they just only give the verdict whether the defendant(D) is guilty or not. The defendant must have a fair trial which includes the judge to give the reason for their decisions . The European Convention of Human Rights held that there are no convention requirements that lay jurors should give the reasons for their decisions .