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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Attorney-General tables jury directions report in State Parliament

    Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    Attorney-General tables jury directions report in State Parliament

    Attorney-General Cameron Dick has tabled in State Parliament a report by the Queensland Law Reform Commission (QLRC) into the directions and instructions given to juries.

    Mr Dick said the State Government had asked the QLRC to review the directions, warnings and summing up given by judges to jurors in criminal trials and to recommend changes that may simplify the current system.

    “It’s important we recognise that people serving on juries do not have legal training, and yet they are asked to make decisions following detailed legal proceedings,” he said.

    “This is an important strength of our system of justice, but it does mean we need to ensure that information is conveyed to juries in the most effective way.

    “Juries are the cornerstone of Queensland’s justice system and it’s important we make the process for serving jurors as easy as possible.

    “Jurors need to have the help they need to deliver fair verdicts based on the evidence and in accordance with the law.

    “It’s important our processes and legislation place judges in the best possible position to instruct and assist jurors.”

    Mr Dick said as part of the Review of Jury Directions report, the QLRC had looked at key areas relating to the work of juries and recommended various changes.

    He said key recommendations included:
    • the development of integrated jury directions
    • the provision of written material to the jury at the start of a trial covering matters such as the burden and standard of proof, the role of the judge and jury, and elements of each offence being considered
    • amending the Criminal Code to allow both the prosecution and the defendant to make submissions to the judge before the summing up about any directions or warnings they may want the judge to include in, or leave out, of the summing up.

    “The QLRC has recommended a range of changes, some of which would require legislative change and some that would require changes to how trials are presented to juries,” he said.

    “It is vital that justice is served and defendants receive a fair trial and I will now carefully consider the QLRC’s recommendations.

    “I would like to thank the QLRC for its important work in reviewing the direction of juries and in formulating proposals to strengthen their contribution to justice in Queensland.”

    Media contact:
    Office of the Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations 3238 3369