LETTER: Eight problems with the jury system

We have a very inefficient system for judging someone’s innocence or guilt in court.

We have a very inefficient system for judging someone’s innocence or guilt in court. The average citizen, who knows very little about the law, is asked to sit in on a legal argument with no training.

(1) Would you invite a plumber to your house to fix an electrical problem? But I, who never practiced law, may be asked to sit in a court room and judge a fellow human.

(2) When a judge says, “The jury will disregard that last statement.” Does he/she really think that the jury would not remember that statement when they are in the jury room?

(3) The judge decides what evidence may be introduced in court. Therefore, the jury may decide the outcome of a case without knowing all of the facts.

(4) In some jurisdictions, jury members are not allowed to take notes. Is it reasonable for all 12 jury members to remember everything that is said in a trial that may last a month or longer?

(5) How can the jury be assured that the police statements and the Crown counsel are not conspiring to have the accused found guilty because they may not be accurate in their judgments? Too many innocent people have been jailed because the bias of the police and/or Crown counsel.

(6) Why subject 12 innocent people to listen to a defence attorney, who really believes his client to be guilty, argue that he/she is innocent and should not be convicted, thereby allowing a guilty person to go free after committing a horrendous crime?

(7) How can the jury be assured that those testifying are really telling the truth about the accused, when they were not at the scene of the crime? It has been shown that two people who witnessed a crime may have two very different accounts of what took place.

(8) Many cases do not come to court until several years after the event. Yet, the court expects 12 people who are not lawyers to decide what is true and what is not?

If you have a plumbing problem, you call a trained plumber. In court cases, a trained lawyer, acting as a judge, should be the one to decide the outcome of a trial.

Bob Abrahams, Nelson

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