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The Concept of Trial by Jury - Term Paper Example

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The paper entitled 'The Concept of Trial by Jury' presents the concept of trial by jury that is deeply entrenched in the democratic system. Lysander Spooner noted as early as 1852 that the term trial by jury is synonymous with the term “trial per pias”…
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The Concept of Trial by Jury
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Download file to see previous pages To secure this right of the people to judge of their own liberties against the government, the jurors are taken, (or must be, to make them lawful jurors,) from the body of the people, by lot, or by some process that precludes any previous knowledge, choice, or selection of them, on the part of the government.” 2
It is this democratic concept of fairness that gives rise to the modern-day jury trial. It is a fundamental part of the British criminal justice system and has been a guaranteed right since 1215 forming a part of the Magna Carta. Clause 39 of the Magna Carta makes the following provision:
“No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.”3
Embedded in this clause are age-old concepts of justice in that any man acquitted or convicted would have been tried by a system of unbiased judges of the facts. Jury trials lend a measure to the notion that ”justice must not only be done, but it must also be seen to be done.” 4 In other words, the mere appearance of bias can compromise any decision in a court of law and as such challenge the concept of just desserts.5
Just desserts recognize that citizens who infringe upon the legal order of society should be punished. It, therefore, follows that the determination of guilt or innocent should be determined by a body separate and apart from the institution that prescribes punishment. These observations form the basis for objection to the Fraud (Trials Without Juries) Bill 2006-2007. The discussion that follows examines the merits of both sides of the argument and concludes that a system that has been in place for more than 800 years speaks for itself.
The Fraud (Trials Without Juries) Bill 2006-2007 endeavors to implement Section 43 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 which makes provision for the Crown to apply for a non-jury trial in respect of certain serious fraud cases.   ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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