Criminal trial before a judge but no jury

  TopCat® 13:39 18 Jun 2009

Quote: 'The Court of Appeal has ruled that a criminal trial can take place at Crown Court without a jury for the first time in England and Wales.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, made legal history by agreeing to allow the trial to be heard by a judge alone.

It is the first time the power has been used since it came into force in 2007....' click here

I believe in today's world that this legal precedent is a necessary and long overdue move when it is found that some jury members are being threatened. What say you on this matter? TC.

  Monument 13:57 18 Jun 2009

It is far from ideal but I am sure this decision is the right one in this case and was taken after much thought and consideration.

Expect an appeal to the House of Lords and then ECHR.

  jakimo 14:57 18 Jun 2009

Its certainly makes sense in some fraud cases,which go right over the juries head, and get so complex with technicalities that barristers get tied up for days trying to solve them

  TopCat® 15:08 18 Jun 2009

I've always maintained in cases of complex fraud, business or otherwise, that the jury members selected should be sufficiently competent to hear such cases. They are often far too complicated for the average 'man-in-the-street' to comprehend, even with proper guidance from the bench. TC.

  Cymro. 15:50 18 Jun 2009

I agree completely with TopCat® on this. I have always thought that the jury system was not as good as it was made out to be anyway.

  oresome 16:06 18 Jun 2009

Complex fraud cases seem to be in a different category to this case which involves armed robbery.

It's difficult to imagine how the jury could maintain a presumption of innocence if they and their families were perceived by the authorities to need round the clock protection.

A sad state of affairs and one step nearer anarchy if the threat is indeed real.

I sometimes wonder at the pure theatre surrounding the taking of an accused from prison to the court everyday. Large vehicle convoys with motorcycle outriders and a helicopter overhead.

Is it strictly necessary or for image manipulation?

  interzone55 16:43 18 Jun 2009

This is nothing new, and is one of the reasons why the law was brought in.

The reason it took so long to put Manchester's "Gooch Gang" behind bars was that most cases against them failed to get to trial due to witness intimidation - and it's not far from there to Jury tampering...

  Mr Mistoffelees 17:12 18 Jun 2009

I believe, under the circumstances as reported, that it is right that these defendants should forfeit the right to trial by jury. The behaviour of their supporters means, I think, that a jury would not be safe and, as a result, could not be relied upon to come to a fair and just verdict according to the facts.

  Admiral Allstar 22:12 18 Jun 2009

From reading various press reports it appears that the reason why a jury was not suitable is due to the cost of protecting them.

You can make your mind up as to whether this is right, but as with all other areas where government (of any party) is involved the argument is still about cost savings. How long before we hear about other types of trials being conducted without juries, eg murder, rape, paedophilia (spelling??)??

I think this is a dangerous precedent which could undermine the entire judicial system.

  Simsy 06:15 19 Jun 2009

there is potential for this to be the other way round... As I understand it the request comes from the prosecution for there to be no jury. It seems unlikely but I wonder if the defence can request the same?

We often hear of cases not going ahead, at least in the neighbourhood where the alleged crime happened, because of fears that the jury would be prejudiced by local knowledge... And what if a well known criminal, having beeen released, was then accused again of a crime similar to that which they'd previously been convicted of? They might be better off having no jury.



  ened 07:07 19 Jun 2009

I fully understand why this decision was taken but also believe it is setting a dangerous precedent!

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