‘Squizzy’ and the Cuckold: How Majority Jury Verdicts got their Australian Foothold
(2018) 45 Australian Bar Review
Posted: 24 Jan 2019
Date Written: January 23, 2019
Majority jury verdicts in criminal cases were introduced far earlier in South Australia than in most comparable places. A number of factors combined to produce this result: one was the South Australian Law Reform Commission of 1923–27, a body which can now be seen as ahead of its time despite the ridicule heaped upon it by Mr Justice Evatt because it was not staffed by lawyers. It uncovered and mobilised a substantial degree of support for majority verdicts among the leaders of the profession. In Victoria in the same decade there was a great deal of anxiety about jury squaring (rigging) based partly on rumours surrounding the notorious gangster ‘Squizzy’ Taylor. This spread to South Australia, and, unlike the Victorian, the South Australian legislature was in a position to take decisive action. Nevertheless, rumours of and even proof of jury squaring continued after majority verdicts were introduced.
Keywords: jury verdicts, jury
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation