Salvaging the Jury in Sexual Violence Trials: A Requirement for Reasoned Verdicts
37 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2020
Date Written: September 2, 2019
Trial by jury remains an important expression of democracy and public participation in the New Zealand criminal justice system. However, it can be questioned whether the jury is the appropriate medium by which to ensure a just legal result in sexual violence trials, due to rape myths negatively impacting impartial decision-making. This debate regarding the utility of the jury in sexual violence trials has led several prominent commentators and political figures to advocate for its removal altogether. However, this paper argues that the challenges faced by the jury can be addressed by the introduction of a requirement to give reasons for jury verdicts in sexual violence trials. This would avoid the loss of a seminal symbol of democracy, while still ensuring that incorporation of rape myths in jury reasoning is able to be identified and remedied to avoid prejudice to the complainant.
Keywords: sexual violence, jury bias, reasoned verdicts, retention
JEL Classification: K14, K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation