Greens Successfully Safeguard Fair Trial By Jury In NSW

Australian Greens

The Greens have successfully stopped the Minns Labor Government from removing safeguards from jury laws that would have damaged the critical right to a fair trial. In October 2023, the Government rushed ahead with plans to halve minimum deliberation times for juries from 8 hours to 4 hours, before they can bypass a unanimous verdict and convict a person with a majority verdict. Amendments, introduced by the Greens, will maintain the important safeguard of the minimum time for consideration before a jury can deliver a majority verdict during a criminal trial.

Greens MP and spokesperson for justice Sue Higginson said, “The NSW Upper House operates as a safeguard on Government overreach, and last night it lived up to that responsibility by protecting the existing standards of fair criminal trials,”

“The Greens, Opposition and other members of the cross bench worked together to prevent a dangerous undermining of civil liberties. Last night, we successfully stopped this incremental and creeping attack on a cornerstone of the right to a fair trial,”

“The right to a fair trial is so fundamental that it was one of the few rights embedded into the constitution, and has remained a critical piece of common law for six-centuries. It is disturbing that NSW Labor attempted to remove this safeguard as part of an unfounded, arbitrary cost-cutting exercise is quite frankly, poor governance,”

“Civil society and expert legal organisations, including the Law Society, Bar Association and the Aboriginal Legal Service have been consistent in opposing the reduction of the minimum deliberation time. By comparison, throughout this process, the Government was unable to provide evidence about the existence of the problem of the eight-hour deliberation period, explain why action was needed or support the introduction of their amendments by either stakeholder feedback or evidence,”

“The Upper House has delivered on its primary function to protect and safeguard society from what could very well have become a concerning creep on the inherent right to justice, a fair trial and due process in this State,” Ms Higginson said.

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