Jury Trials – Do you get a fair trial?
There are opposing points of view regarding jury trials, but the popular belief is that it is a good thing to have 12 people chosen at random as this can help to give a more fair trial, being given the responsibility of making the decision as to guilt in a Crown Court trial. However, the truth is, there has not been any research into exactly how juries reach their decisions, nor can they be questioned about it.
It is becoming an increasingly controversial area. Historically, a jury was supposed to be selected on the basis that they did not have any prior knowledge of the case they were trying – the point being that they should only consider the evidence before them at Court. Google and social media networks have put a spanner in those works. Although sworn to an oath not to do so and to discuss any evidence from the trial with anyone apart from their fellow jurors, in reality jurors can now find information on line which they should not consider as part of their deliberations. Obviously, some of this information can be prejudicial (e.g. previous convictions), which can undermine the fairness of a trial.
Each trial starts with 12 jurors, but each trial does not necessarily end with 12 jurors, for reasons such as a juror becoming sick or a juror being discovered to have breached the oath and therefore removed from the process.
At the end of a trial, the judge will always want a unanimous verdict from the jury, meaning that they all agree as to whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty. If the jury are unable to reach a unanimous verdict, a majority verdict is required. This means that a vote is required, the rules for this depend on however many jurors there are. If there are 9 jurors, a unanimous verdict is required. The combinations are:
Where there are 12 jurors: 11 – 1 or 10 – 2
Where there are 11 jurors: 10 -1
Where there are 10 jurors: 9 – 1
How Tuckers Solicitors can help you
We have 30 years experience as the leading criminal defence lawyers in the country. Although there is no research with regards what happens in the jury room, careful preparation of the defence and skilled advocates who understand the dynamics of the Court room are essential to ensuring that you have a fair trial. If you require expert criminal defence advice, please contact Adam Makepeace at firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7388 8333.