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Explain how jurors are chosen and the role of the jury in a crown court.

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Introduction

Law Gary Polmeer Juries a) Explain how jurors are chosen and the role of the jury in a crown court. For all court appearances, jurors are selected randomly, by an official at the crown court from the electoral registers. In order to be selected for a jury the person must be: between the ages of 18-70; have lived in the country for at least 5years and be registered as a parliamentary elector. In 2003 a new act was passed, The Criminal Justice Act, this meant that everybody was eligible to be called for jury service. This new act does not excuse anyone in the legal profession, justice system or the health system. The only people who don't have to serve jury service are those who are disqualified. Disqualifications include: those who have served a prison sentence of 5years or more; those who have served a prison sentence in the last 10years; those who are currently performing community service; and those who are currently on bail at the time of being called for jury service. ...read more.

Middle

After this they have two hours to reach a verdict which has to be a unanimous decision, which the foreman will later announce in Court. During their two hours, the jury have to carefully review and discuss the facts of the case. However, if the jury are unable to agree on a decision unanimously the judge may accept a majority of ten to two or eleven to one. If the majority is less than this, the jury is given extra time to decide the final verdict - guilty or not guilty. Once the jury do come to a decision they don't have to give their reason for their choice and then the sentencing is left to the judge. Juries are only needed in cases where the defendant pleads 'not guilty' so their role is extremely important as their decision will affect the defendants for the rest of their life. b) Consider whether jury trials should be abolished. Many people have their own views on jury trials and whether they are good or should be abolished. ...read more.

Conclusion

This may lead to the defendant not receiving a fair trial which is the reason behind jury trials. Although there are many reasons why people wish to have jury trials abolished there are also many advantages to them. Many people feel that a jury trial is fairer as the defendant is tried by twelve random individuals and this leads to minimal biases as it is more than one person's opinion. The members of the jury, members of the general public, will also be able to relate to the defendant and their culture more and this leads to the defendant feeling he is being tried by his own peers making the whole court procedure more bearable. From these reasons I can see why people want to abolish the jury trials, but equally why there are many people who want to keep the traditional style of Crown Court cases. In my view they should keep the jury trials as the main factor I feel is how the defendant feels during the whole case as they may be innocent and would much prefer to be tried by a jury containing members of the general public. ...read more.

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