Bill to protect jurors passes second reading

Wednesday 23 May 2012, 11:35AM
By Judith Collins

A Bill to protect the safety and privacy of jurors and to maintain the integrity and administration of the jury system passed its second reading at Parliament today.

Justice Minister Judith Collins says the Juries (Jury Service and Protection of Particulars of Jury List Information) Amendment Bill ensures the privacy and safety of potential jurors, while also making much-needed changes to improve the efficiency of the jury system.

“We acted to restrict access to jurors’ information after a convicted murderer wrote to a juror whose name he saw on a list while representing himself in a trial.

“Jury service is an important civic duty and those who discharge this duty deserve to feel safe whilst doing so.

“We’re also making changes to exclude people who have been sentenced to home detention for 3 months or more in the last five years from serving on a jury. And a person serving a sentence of less than 3 months home detention will be deferred or excused from jury service if summoned during their sentence,” Ms Collins says.

“Improvements to simplify the process for permanently excusing people who meet certain criteria from jury service will also be made. For example, people over 65 years old can be permanently excused if they request so in writing, instead of having to apply to be excused each time.

“I also welcome the sensible and considered amendments made to the Bill by the Justice and Electoral Select Committee, and the input of those who made submissions,” Ms Collins says.