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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Attorney-General, Minister for Local Government and Special Minister of State
    The Honourable Paul Lucas

    Government to consider changes to jury selection laws

    Attorney-General, Minister for Local Government and Special Minister of State
    The Honourable Paul Lucas

    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    Government to consider changes to jury selection laws

    The Queensland Government will consider changes to the Jury Act 1995 to ensure Queensland’s juries remain representative of our community.

    The Queensland Law Reform Commission (QLRC) Jury Selection Report has been tabled for Parliament.

    Deputy Premier and Attorney-General Paul Lucas said juries were the cornerstone of a justice system that is fair transparent and free from bias.

    “An essential feature of a jury is that it contains representatives of the wider community and is composed in a way that avoids bias,” Mr Lucas said.

    “Serving as a juror is an important civic duty and those who are involved in trials rely on a jury’s fairness and impartiality.”

    The report was commissioned to examine the importance of juries and recommend changes to strengthen the jury system.

    “The QLRC was asked to review the operation and effectiveness of provisions relating to the selection, empanelment, participation, qualification and excusal of jurors,” Mr Lucas said.

    “The review included what effect ineligibility, plus the number of people who exercise their right to be excused, has on the representative nature of a jury.”

    Mr Lucas said the State Government had a track record of delivering improvements to Queensland’s courts system including the introduction of ‘judge only’ trials and majority verdicts for juries.

    “This government also introduced access to counselling services and higher fees for people who serve on juries, making Queensland jurors among the highest paid in the country at the time.

    “The criminal justice system in Queensland must remain dynamic and this work is about ensuring it does.”

    Mr Lucas said recommendations were intended to ensure the pool of prospective jurors was as large as possible.

    The QLRC’s recommendations include:

    • Requirements that make people in certain occupations ineligible to be a juror should be confined so that only those whose presence on the jury could be seen to compromise its independence or parity are ineligible;
    • a system of deferral be introduced to deal with valid but temporary reasons why people may be unable to perform jury service;
    • for longer trials, the Notice to Prospective Juror should indicate they may be required to serve longer than the standard two weeks;
    • steps be taken to increase Indigenous participation in the jury system; and
    • the daily remuneration of a juror be reviewed to reflect the national minimum wage.

    Mr Lucas said these recommendations, along with others outlined in the report, would be considered by the government.

    “I would like to thank the QLRC for its contribution to such an important aspect of our justice system,” he said.

    Media contact: 3227 8425