Criminal trials will be more efficient with the introduction of new jury direction processes this week.
Juries perform an important role in the justice system. New reforms will simplify the directions the trial judge gives to the jury in a criminal trial to assist the jury in determining whether an accused is guilty or not guilty.
Simplifying jury directions will enable judges to provide clearer and simpler directions to juries. The new directions will also reduce judicial errors, resulting in fewer appeals and retrials.
Shorter trials and ensuring fewer costly appeals and retrials will help to reduce court delays.
Clearer directions help to make trials fairer for the community, the accused and victims of crime. The changes also simplify and clarify important directions on:
- misconduct evidence (such as tendency and coincidence evidence)
- unreliable evidence
- identification evidence
- delay and forensic disadvantage
- the failure to give or call evidence
- delay and credibility
- what must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
Quotes attributable to Attorney-General, Martin Pakula
“Trial by jury is a fundamental aspect of Victoria's criminal justice system so it is important that the directions a trial judge provides a jury be as helpful, relevant and fair as possible.”
“From this week, juries will be given clearer and simpler directions, making their task easier, as well as making appeals and retrials based on jury direction less likely.”
“This will help to minimise court delays and limit further stress to victims of crime, witnesses and their families caused by retrials.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020