Jury Trials

A criminal trial occurs when the Crown alleges that a member of the community has committed a crime and the accused denies the allegation. The parties determine the evidence to be placed before the jury and identify the issues that the jury needs to consider. The jury resolves the dispute by giving a verdict of guilty or not guilty of the crime charged, based only upon a dispassionate and fair assessment of the evidence and in accordance with the law as directed by the judge.

Role of Judge 

The judge is responsible for the conduct of the trial. The judge will give directions of law to the jury as to how they approach their task during their deliberations in a summing up before the jury commences its deliberations.

Who Can be on a Jury?

Every person who is registered to vote in NSW is qualified and eligible to serve as a juror. There are a few exceptions, which may be based on a person’s profession, sickness, handicap, or undue suffering they may incur due to jury duty. Ultimately, the jury is made up of a total of 12 people selected at random from the electoral roll.

What is the Role of the Jury?

The jury must decide facts and issues arising from the evidence and ultimately to determine whether the accused is guilty of the crime alleged. Investigations or inquiries made outside the courtroom are prohibited. Before the jury is asked to deliberate on their verdict, Counsel will make their own submissions and arguments based upon the evidence. The jury must follow directions of law stated by the Judge and take into account any warning given as to particular aspects of the evidence. Each juror is to act in accordance with the oath or affirmation made at the start of the trial to give “a true verdict in accordance with the evidence”.

The jury foreperson is the spokesperson for the jury, responsible for delivering the verdict on the jury’s behalf. They can be chosen in any way the jury thinks appropriate, at any time prior to the delivery of the verdicts, and can be changed at any time. The foreperson has no greater importance or responsibility than any other member of the jury in its deliberations.

A juror should not discuss the case or any aspect of it with any person other than a fellow juror. Any discussion by the jury about the evidence or the law should be confined to the jury room and only when all jurors are present.

It is the duty of a juror to bring to the attention of the judge as soon as possible any irregularity that has occurred because of the conduct of fellow jurors during the course of the trial. The matters to be raised include:

  • A juror is making inquiries outside the courtroom;
  • A juror has been discussing the matter with a non-juror;
  • A juror is refusing to participate in the jury’s functions;
  • A juror is not apparently able to comprehend the English language; and/or
  • A juror’s inability to be impartial because of the juror’s familiarity with a witness or legal representative in the case, or for any other reason.

Why Jackson John?

Jury trials can be complex and daunting, but it is important to remember that the Prosecution must prove their case beyond reasonable doubt. This means that the jury must be convinced of your guilt to a very high standard.

At Jackson John Defence Lawyers, we are dedicated to providing you with the highest level of legal representation and support during jury trials. Our seasoned lawyers have extensive experience representing clients in jury trials across a range of criminal matters, and we are well-versed in the strategies required to mount a strong defence in front of a jury.