The County Court is the major trial Court in Victoria and its jurisdiction includes Civil jurisdiction, Criminal jurisdiction and Criminal Appeal. The main purpose for a Court is to maintain the justice in the society. Normally, jury is not necessary to be called except for some serious matters. It is summoned to act an important role as fact-finding in the judicial procedure. For example, the criminal matters prevalently call a panel of jury with 12 persons that is bigger than the one in the civil matters which is made up of 6 persons. All the decisions made by the jury are only based on the fact that provided by the prosecutor and the defendant. In addition, the judge provides some necessary suggestions about the law which related to the case to help the jury’s verdict more reliable in a proper moment. However, according to the observation in the two cases, it seems that there are some extra potential facts impacting the decision in a certain extent.
B. The cases
This analysis is based on the two cases that were observed in the County Court last month. Both of them were the criminal matters and called the panel of jury on trial.
The first case was a sexual assault that happened on the Christmas eve last year. The Defendant, Mr. Diamantaris was charged for raping a woman on the road at midnight. On trial, the prosecutor lawyer and the defendant lawyer presented many evidence related to this crime, such as DNA Reports, CCTV recordings, witnesses and so on. In the sentence, the judge asked about the final decision from the jury for three times and tired to make sure that they had got the unanimous verdict. The defendant was sentenced not guilty at last.
In the second case, the defendant Mr. Carmody was charged for taking dru...
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...overnment that means they need to pay all attention on this case. This may cause huge stress for the jury about the environment and the time.
At end, the most serious problem is that the verdict cannot be agreed by all jury members. At this moment, some jurors may give up their opinion to solve this problem quickly and easily. This is unallowable for ignoring their responsibility that critical the matter impartially. this may cause injudical verdict that has a negative effect on both of the assault and defendant.
On a positive way, the principle of the jury has tended to be improved in the recent years. The judge gave a simpler and clearer direction to the jury that help them understand the case and the law directly. Based on that the jury can make the final decision easier. Also clear and accurate verdict will protect the victims directly by few appeals and retrial.
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