Salvaging the Jury in Sexual Violence Trials: A Requirement for Reasoned Verdicts

37 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2020

See all articles by Jessica Sutton

Jessica Sutton

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni

Date Written: September 2, 2019

Abstract

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

Sutton, Jessica, Salvaging the Jury in Sexual Violence Trials: A Requirement for Reasoned Verdicts (September 2, 2019). Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper No. 4/2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3550852 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3550852

Jessica Sutton (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, Victoria 6140
New Zealand

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