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BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant

Jack Campin 23 Jan 12 - 09:20 AM
Silas 23 Jan 12 - 09:29 AM
DMcG 23 Jan 12 - 09:37 AM
GUEST,999 23 Jan 12 - 09:40 AM
GUEST,Eliza 23 Jan 12 - 09:50 AM
gnomad 23 Jan 12 - 10:19 AM
Silas 23 Jan 12 - 10:43 AM
Jeri 23 Jan 12 - 10:56 AM
gnomad 23 Jan 12 - 11:19 AM
GUEST,pizel 23 Jan 12 - 12:18 PM
Skivee 23 Jan 12 - 12:53 PM
G-Force 23 Jan 12 - 12:59 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Jan 12 - 03:32 PM
Paul Burke 23 Jan 12 - 03:48 PM
gnu 23 Jan 12 - 03:49 PM
Jim Dixon 23 Jan 12 - 03:52 PM
GUEST,999 23 Jan 12 - 04:02 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 23 Jan 12 - 04:23 PM
Rapparee 23 Jan 12 - 04:23 PM
gnu 23 Jan 12 - 04:58 PM
JohnInKansas 23 Jan 12 - 07:28 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 23 Jan 12 - 07:46 PM
YorkshireYankee 24 Jan 12 - 02:19 AM
GUEST,Ian Mather sans cookie 24 Jan 12 - 02:49 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 24 Jan 12 - 03:05 AM
Dave Hanson 24 Jan 12 - 03:17 AM
Nigel Parsons 24 Jan 12 - 04:02 AM
Nigel Parsons 24 Jan 12 - 04:12 AM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 24 Jan 12 - 06:57 AM
GUEST,Eliza 24 Jan 12 - 07:19 AM
GUEST,Dazbo at work 24 Jan 12 - 07:20 AM
Jack Campin 24 Jan 12 - 08:11 AM
DMcG 24 Jan 12 - 08:24 AM
Silas 24 Jan 12 - 08:32 AM
theleveller 24 Jan 12 - 09:31 AM
SPB-Cooperator 24 Jan 12 - 10:04 AM
GUEST,Eliza 24 Jan 12 - 10:13 AM
GUEST,Dazbo at work 24 Jan 12 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,leeneia 24 Jan 12 - 11:33 AM
John MacKenzie 24 Jan 12 - 12:43 PM
GUEST,Eliza 24 Jan 12 - 04:32 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Jan 12 - 05:09 PM
theleveller 25 Jan 12 - 05:05 AM
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Subject: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 09:20 AM

This is outrageously punitive:

Juror jailed for searching the internet on the background to a case

She tried to find out as much as possible about the case she was passing a verdict on, and gets thrown in jail by a judge who says she's only allowed to see the information he lets her have.

Count me out of ever serving on a British jury.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: Silas
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 09:29 AM

The judge was 100% right.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: DMcG
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 09:37 AM

Hard, but justified, I think.

There are real problems of gathering information from sources apart from the hearing itself, and neither the newspapers nor the internet are exactly reliable sources of information. Not the least of such problems is that the verdict can be overturned if the actions of the jury cause a mistrial.

Another problem, though, is that we have a juror who says 'her grasp of English was sometimes "not that good"'. I don't see how you can get a fair trial is that is true, although I agree the problems of how you decide if someone's English is adequate is fraught with problems.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: GUEST,999
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 09:40 AM

The Rapture is upon us. I agree with Silas.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 09:50 AM

On being called up for Jury Sevice, the Law and conditions regarding all these things is explained in detail, as are the penalties for non-compliance. If the lady felt her English was not up to scratch, she should have stated this under mitigating circumstances for not serving. A Jury has a grave responsibility towards fair and impartial Justice in this country, and contempt of Court is very serious. She could have received an even greater sentence!


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: gnomad
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 10:19 AM

She has sustained an academic, lecturing, career and been here for 15 of her 34 years; I find it most unlikely that she failed ,through poor language skills, to comprehend the judge's specific instructions regarding using the internet. That she might not have been paying attention might just be credible, but in such a case her contempt of the court would be equally egregious. Frankly I reckon she deserved what she got.

JackC, I don't know whether you are liable for UK jury duty, but I don't think you can get out of it (if eligible) on grounds of disinclination.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: Silas
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 10:43 AM

Oh I do hope he can.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: Jeri
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 10:56 AM

I suppose all he'd have to do is tell the jury selectors what he reads on the internet is more important than testimony and evidence presented in court, and he'll seek his own information despite instructions to the contrary. He'd probably be disqualified, assuming jury selection in the UK is similar to the US.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: gnomad
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 11:19 AM

Info on UK jury service Government website or a non-government version. The first link includes a video, but I have yet to view it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: GUEST,pizel
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 12:18 PM

In a jury trial, as I understand it, it is the prosecutions job to prove the case to them beyond reasonable doubt and the defenses job to refute the prosecutors case.
Hence in Scotland the verdict, at one time, was proven or not proven. Somewhere along the line the courts there adopted the more stark English verdicts of guilty or not guilty, retaining the not proven verdict.
The adversial system of trial by jury relies on the jury reaching their verdict based on the case presented to them in court and at one time they were "boxed" until they reached a verdict no matter how long they took to reach a decision.[No fancy hotels for them in those days].
Based on the present rules the lady was certainly in contempt of court and has been punished accordingly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: Skivee
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 12:53 PM

Jack, when I served on a land dispute case many years ago, we were told specifically to rely only on the facts presented to us in the courtroom, but to be guided by our life experiences.
I knew something of the area in question, and it was a bit tempting to take a visit just to scope things out. nope. The case had to be made within the courtroom.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: G-Force
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 12:59 PM

UK jury service is probably the most depressing and distressing thing I've ever done. I've been called twice, sitting on about 7 or 8 cases.

Every time, we either found the defendant not guilty, or guilty of a charge less than the most serious one. In many of these cases the defendant was quite obviously guilty as hell, but the case didn't really stand up, so what could we do?

Total waste of time for us, and a really inefficient way of dealing with villains. Very efficient at letting them off, though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 03:32 PM

U. S. and Canadian juries must use only the material presented in court.
Using information from the net or from the press or from discussion with others is cause for immediate disqualification and the need to select another jury if the miscreant juror had discussed any of his "information" with the others on the jury. Much time and money is wasted as a result, and my opinion is that the miscreant juror should be subjected to 50 lashes and jail time (unfortunately lashing not permissible in Canada or U. S.).


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: Paul Burke
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 03:48 PM

(1) A trial is not about whether the defendant is a good or a bad character. The only question is did they commit this particular crime.
(2) Research may not be accurate, either in the source material or in its interpretation.
(3) The purpose of presenting evidence in court is so that it can be examined by both prosecution and defence. Private research can not be subject to such questioning.
(4) There are strict rules concerning the disclosure of previous convictions to prevent biased assessment of the evidence.
(5) It is manifestly unjust to disclose previous accusations. A person can not be fairly convicted on the basis of having been accused of similar offences before.

This case appears to be a fair conviction; the defendant was specifically warned against what she did. But others, particularly tabloid newspapers, appear to be above the law. It is astonishing that the treatment of Christopher Jefferies in the coverage of the Joanna Yeates murder investigation last year did not result in criminal prosecution of several newspaper editors.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: gnu
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 03:49 PM

Indeed, the internet/press/petitions are used to subvert due process, as has been discussed in a number of threads on this forum. Certainly, all jurors are instructed to disregard "hearsay". As stated above, in the most severe cases, they are sequesterd.

I disagree with 50 lashes, though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 03:52 PM

I think the same thing would have happened in the US. (The juror being jailed for contempt, I mean.) And I totally approve.

However, I have doubts about a couple of other details in the story.

"The judges refused Dallas permission to appeal to the Supreme Court."--In the US, the Supreme court itself decides which cases it will hear. I don't think a lesser court can prohibit anyone from filing an appeal.

"...the man had previously been accused and acquitted of rape. He was re-tried in October last year, convicted and jailed."--Isn't there any prohibition against double jeopardy in British law? In the US, an acquittal is final. (Some cases can be retried, such as when a jury can't reach a unanimous decision, but those aren't called "acquittals.")


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: GUEST,999
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 04:02 PM

I read somewhere that because of new methods in crime detection and interpreting evidence, that in the UK it is permissible to re-try an individual if for example DNA evidence would prove guilt or lack thereof. I skimmed whatever it was I read so I may be mistaken.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 04:23 PM

Hold on here a moment!
Jurors are selected at random from an untrained populace and often compelled to attend with little or no compensation. Judges and laywers are both highly trained and highly paid. Laws are written by legal pro's in a foreign tongue that few outside this clique can understand. The person on trial has rights but the rights of the victim are often ignored. God help the juror who would think outside the box.
THE LAW IS AN ASS!


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: Rapparee
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 04:23 PM

New evidence can re-open a case, but to do so requires convincing a judge that the new evidence is so overwhelming that the case should be re-opened. (At least in the US.)

For example, I get off on the charge of murdering 999. I walk away, having been found not guilty. Thirteen years later it's found that not only did the cartridge cases have my fingerprints on them, but no fewer than four surveillance cameras show the entire thing in full color (colour, because it happened in Canada) and the RCMP was found to have falsified DNA evidence.

A judge would, and should, reopen the case.

But it MUST be tried, as all cases must, by an unbiased jury who judges ONLY on the evidence presented. In my first trial, someone told someone else that their hairdresser's second cousin's boy friend's best friend was convinced I did it. That's not evidence and should not have been admitted (much less have come to trial). Now, if 999 had said to a cop and the EMT who was trying to plug the holes that I had shot him, that's the ONLY acceptable hearsay because it's a dying declaration. (If you want to get someone in trouble, wait until you're dying and there are witnesses around, the downside is that you really have to die).

Ignorant jurors? No. But they have to judge by the evidence presented, not by anything else.

Remember, a verdict of "Not Guilty" does not mean "This person is innocent of this crime."


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: gnu
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 04:58 PM

I shot the sherrif, but Rap shot the triple 9.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 07:28 PM

the downside is that you really have to die.

Although IANAL, I've seen/heard reports of a number of cases where the "dying statement" argument has been accepted when the person making them didn't actually die.

The real requirement in some courts is that at the time when the statement was made, the speaker merely believed he was about to die.

Perhaps that's why laws in quite a few places refer to it as a "deathbed declaration" rather than a "dying testimony." If you're gonna get by with it, you'd probably best be stretched out flat, or close to it.

Of course the lawyers get to argue about what evidence is admissible, and those arguments probably should be done where the jury doesn't hear them, but that's not always the case. The argument over whether such a statement can be admitted could be an opportunity for one side to establish a bias in the jury that might affect subsequent jury decisions. (Convincing the jury that the other lawyer is a real ass can really help your side, so sometimes lawyers start arguments they have no chance of winning just with the hope of convicting the opposing counsel in the eyes of the jury?)

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 07:46 PM

Prosecuters will often act in concert with the defense in putting forth a plea bargain to the court, saving both of the lazy bastards doing any real work. The accused gets a lower sentence than what his crime deserves and the victim can just piss off. A jury should know what the past record of the accused is and if it is a mile long some burden of proof should fall to the defense. I don't advocate railroading anyone but plea bargains and con-current sentences and manditory early parole put many back on the street far too early and in such cases the public protection should be an important aspect of the trial. If there is a plea bargain the jury is dismissed with their time having been wasted. As I said the law is an ass!


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 02:19 AM

I have served on a jury once (back when I lived in the US). I remember wanting to take notes on what was being said, so that I wouldn't forget any of it later (there can be a lot of info to take in!).

However, I was (surprised to be) told that note-taking was not permitted; I thought it would help me make a fairer decision, but apparently the court does not set much store by that idea. (Perhaps they think notes may not necessarily be all that accurate?)

In some cases, the jury is given transcripts of the trial to refer to during discussion (can't remember for sure whether we were or not, but I don't think so).

All I can say is, I'd have been much happier being allowed to jot down a few things here & there...


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: GUEST,Ian Mather sans cookie
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 02:49 AM

Jury service is part of a process. A process has rules. Being part of a society is to observe rules whilst arguing the rights and wrongs of said rules.

I reckon there are grounds for tinkering with how the jury system works but in the meantime, the system is how it is.

I sincerely hope I am never subjected to a jury though. If being judged by your peers involves recognising that more people in The UK voted on X Factor than voted in the general election, it would appear my peers may not be well equipped. Sales of red top tabloids and celebrity magazines lead you to be concerned that what could be construed as arrogannce pomposity on my part is a reflection of general intelligence elsewhere.

A quick look at BBC Have Your Say website shows you the general level of those who may judge you in the future.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 03:05 AM

Jim Dixon: in England and Wales (it may be different in Scotland and Northern Ireland) a criminal court may be asked to grant right of appeal to a higher court. If that right is refused, as in the Dallas case, a defendant may apply directly to the higher court for that right.

YY: In a complex case lasting (say) three months, no notes you made, however comprehensive you think they might be, could amount to a fair account. Though they could perhaps make sense to you as a memory aid they would have the potential to mislead other jury members. Far better for jurors to rely on overall impressions. (A jury can at any time ask to see specific exhibits and to have a transcript, and can also seek further guidance from the judge.It is at the judge's discretion whether such requests are granted.)

Rapparee: You're wrong. In England and Wales, and I think in the US too, "not guilty" DOES mean "innocent" the law being that any defendant is innocent until/unless proved guilty. As someone noted above, Scotland can cloud the issue with its "not proven" option.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 03:17 AM

She not only researched the defendent, she passed this information to the other jurors, she should have six months added for gross stupidity.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 04:02 AM

Rapparee: You're wrong. In England and Wales, and I think in the US too, "not guilty" DOES mean "innocent" the law being that any defendant is innocent until/unless proved guilty. As someone noted above, Scotland can cloud the issue with its "not proven" option.

Rapparee was correct in his statement: Remember, a verdict of "Not Guilty" does not mean "This person is innocent of this crime."

A verdict of "Not Guilty" does not mean that the jury believe the accused to be innocent, only that they have not been given evidence which (in their opinion) proves his/her guilt. They are not given the option of giving a finding of "innocent". It is the law of the land which declares that a person is presumed to be innocent unless proven to the contrary.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 04:12 AM

As for the original post, I believe the judge acted quite correctly.
As the information was sourced from the internet, it would be possible that the juror would be in possession of it before the trial commenced, and would allow it to colour her view of the procedings. Her main fault was discussing her findings with the other jurors & thus prejudicing their thoughts. In the jury room only evidence which has been put before the court should be discussed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 06:57 AM

The lady in question was considered guilty of Contempt of Court by the judge and punished accordingly with a custodial sentence. What dismays me is the un-evenness of some judicial decisions we see in Britain, viz; the two thugs who assaulted and kicked a man, resulting in very serious injuries requiring prolonged hospital treatment, who walked from court, proudly showing contempt for society and receiving punishment such as fines and community work that they will shrug off and consider a badge of "honour".


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 07:19 AM

With regard to the last posting, I believe it's possible to appeal against a too-lenient sentence and have the penalty adjusted. I agree that in the case of these two vicious thugs, a custodial sentence for GBH should have been mandatory, especially considering their past record of crime..


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: GUEST,Dazbo at work
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 07:20 AM

Jim Dixon,

I read the retrial and conviction bit as the trial the inquisitive juror caused to be abandoned not a retrial of his previous not guilty trial.

Also, one of the reductions in civil liberties brought in by Labour was the ability to retry people originally found not guilty so yes people in Britain can now face double jeopardy (so far I think it's only for murder but perhaps other serious crimes).


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 08:11 AM

Look at it from Dallas's point of view. She's an academic and has spent her career researching stuff. Is she supposed to turn her inquisitiveness and intellectual skill set off just because some knuckle-dragging bully of a judge tells her to? If it seemed obvious to her that there was more to the story than the jury had been fed, of course she'd ask what it was. If the trial system only wants forelock-tugging dimwits as jurors, maybe they better spell that out in law.

Meanwhile they've imposed a brutally over the top punishment and wrecked her career for fouling their procedural offside rule. They're bunch of thugs that would disgrace the Middle Ages.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: DMcG
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 08:24 AM

Is she supposed to turn her inquisitiveness and intellectual skill set off just because some knuckle-dragging bully of a judge tells her to?

No. But she IS supposed to direct those attributes in a way that does not rely on unexamined information. If she is intellectually inclined, she will know that all source material is biased and that articles on the internet and in newspapers have quite different objective standards to court material. She will know that the whole purpose of a court is to test the reliability of the evidence and that information outside the court is not so tested. And she should be aware that there are reasons for courts subjecting all information to cross examination.


If anything, her intelligence suggests the matter should treated more seriously, not less.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: Silas
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 08:32 AM

Jack, you are so wrong. Not all 'evidence' is admissable in a UK court for very good reasons mainly. If she is basing her judgement on unadmissable evidence then there will not be a fair trial. The judge was 100% right, she was told what she could and could not do and she chose to ignoer the judge - that is contempt of court and carries an appropriate punishment.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: theleveller
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 09:31 AM

I think Jack is totally wrong. You'd have to question this person's academic abilities if she didn't understand the appropriate use, qualification and interpretation of research material – this is something that's drilled into first year university students. By her actions, not only did she render the trial invalid, she also compromised the integrity of the other jurors and, had the trial proceeded and the accused been convicted, would have provided him with the perfect reason to have the conviction overturned. Personally I'm surprised she wasn't charged with perverting the course of justice.

With regard to GUEST:Dazbo's point about the introduction of 'double jeopardy': whilst I have often condemned New Labour's attacks of civil liberties, I do think this was a good move. Without it, for example, the murders of Stephen Lawrence would still be walking free.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 10:04 AM

The problem now is that the press have not only reported the issue, but also what she looked up. So it would be difficult for any future juror to be 'ignorant' of this.

Unless jurers are prevented from reading any press from the date of arrest to the conclusion of the trial, then they cannot be immunised from access deliberate or passive access to information.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 10:13 AM

The defendant for whom she was a juror has now received a sentence of 11 years, I believe, following a retrial.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: GUEST,Dazbo at work
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 11:22 AM

theleveller,

Whilst in the Stephen Lawrence case I think (some) of the right people have been found guilty the double jeopardy is open to abuse, relying as it does on trusting the authorities not to abuse the system. I believe that this is taking trust too far - now the door has been opened to allowing double jeopardy who can say that in the future this won't be expanded to triple or quadruple jeopardy to ensure that the authorities end up getting the result they want.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 11:33 AM

I'd like to point out the difference between the first post and the article linked to.

Jack wrote "Juror jailed for searching for searching the internet on the background to a case."

Article says "juror who researched a defendant's past on the internet and shared the information with fellow jury members has been jailed for contempt of court."

Rather different, don't you think?

Imagine a system where people are tried on the basis of their pasts instead of on the evidence. Police could claim excellent records simply by accusing anybody with a record of any new crime. Crooks could get off by fingering whatever associate of theirs has the worst record.

And of course, there are no guarantees that what Dall read on the Internet was correct or unbiased.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 12:43 PM

Jack you are so wrong.
IF a person has previour convictions, this MUST NOT be disclosed until he has (if he is) been convicted of the charges on which he is being tried.

WHY?

Because numb nuts without the ability to tell the difference between history and truth could find them guilty of a crime they did not commit. Solely based on that history.


There is also no way to check if the information gleaned from their on line research is true.

Believe it or not people are brought to court for offences they did not commit! Even though they may have committed a similar offence previously.

The person is on trial for what he/she has been currently accused of, not for what he/she has done in the past.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 04:32 PM

Exactly, and it's only when sentencing that the Judge takes into account a convicted criminal's previous convictions. I feel that, while it has its faults, our legal system is one of the best in the world. Only by fiercely protecting its integrity can the Courts maintain this excellence.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 05:09 PM

I was selected for a jury, and was seated and hearing the introductory remarks by the judge, when the judge was given a note and apologized for requesting a short recess. When he came back, our number was one short, and the judge told us that one of the jurors told another some details about the accused.
We were released with apologies. We did get a free meal and a few dollars for the day, but some of us had made special arrangements to be there (the trial could have taken days) and cost us both time and money.

The rules set to insulate a trial from outside influences have developed over many years and are a part of proceedings in all countries bound by English common law.


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Subject: RE: BS: Jurors' duty to be ignorant
From: theleveller
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 05:05 AM

From Dazbo:

"Whilst in the Stephen Lawrence case I think (some) of the right people have been found guilty the double jeopardy is open to abuse, relying as it does on trusting the authorities not to abuse the system."

Yes, I agree it's a double-edged sword.Unfortunately, the whole legal system can be open to abuse as, indeed, is our whole political system. The assault on our civil liberties perpetrated by recent governments is truly frightening especially because, as you say, so many are open-ended. Anyone interested can find these listed, and the consequences dicussed, in A C Grayling's 'Liberty in the Age of Terror'.


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