Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Give Juries A Real Job

Give Juries A Real Job

Wednesday 14 Apr 2004 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Crime & Justice

Labour's proposal to tinker with juries distracts attention from its refusal to undertake real criminal justice reform, ACT New Zealand Justice spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"People are right to worry that a lawyer on a jury would exercise undue influence. It could go either way: others could devolve responsibility to the `expert', or resent and resist their sound advice," Mr Franks said.

"Research shows how easily people shift responsibility for unpleasant decisions on to experts and authority figures. Fewer people might duck jury duty if the job had more meaning.

"Real reform might give the jury a job it's suited for - to say what the community thinks of the crime by fixing the sentence. But juries are treated like a computer black box: selected data is fed in, no one's allowed to know how it's processed or, in theory, to question the result.

"In practice, lawyers and judges try to steer juries with arcane and patronising rules about what they can hear or see, and what they can't. Despite protestations that juries are usually sensible and safe, the evidence rules show the law establishment doesn't really trust them.

"If 12 community representatives were guided by the `sentencing' tariff, they could do just as well as the judges in deciding whether an offence should fall at the severe or light end of the punishment scale.

"Many people don't trust judges' sentencing. It's plain they are biased toward leniency, and maximum sentences are rarely seen. This can't mean that crimes are never at the worst end of the seriousness scale.

"Real reform would allow victims a right to suggest what should happen to a criminal, to match the rights given to criminals and their families to tell the court what they think should happen. Juries could weigh them up," Mr Franks said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>

ALSO:

Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news