Trial By Jury 113

When I started this blog I never envisaged I would be forced to write a defence of the use of juries in Scotland. We live in troubling times indeed.

A jury is an essential protection against the power of the state. It is a randomly selected group of citizens who decide on the facts of an accusation – crucially removing that power from officers of the state.

It is therefore a much needed safeguard against a state official just banging up people the state wishes to bang up, without just cause. It has been viewed that way for centuries.

The current proposition from the Scottish government is that, because conviction rates in rape trials in Scotland are lower than in England – approximately 52% to 75% – that juries should be abolished in rape and sexual assault cases and replaced by specially trained judges.

This proposition fails at the first hurdle of logic.

Juries decide rape trials in both England and in Scotland. So elementary logic tells you that the cause of difference is not juries (unless you believe there is a fundamental difference in attitudes to rape in English and Scottish society, which seems to me highly improbable).

I spoke with a Scottish KC who has been a prosecutor in sexual offence crimes. Their take was rather different. They think the reason for higher conviction rates in England was that Scottish prosecutors are more willing to run marginal cases.

In England the Crown Prosecution Service and its staff are measured against a set of achievement metrics on conviction rates, and as a result will not take a case forward unless it is close to a slam dunk.

In Scotland prosecutors are more willing to give accusers a chance to put their accusations before a jury.

You could achieve a higher conviction rate by the prosecutors bringing fewer cases, only those where the evidence is overwhelming. That is not an outcome anybody wants.

Look at this turned on its head. Is a 51% chance of convincing the jury not about the point at which a case ought to be allowed to proceed? Why is that wrong?

If an alleged victim has a 50% chance of being believed by the jury, they will get into court in Scotland. In England they need a 75% chance of being believed.

That is simply a different way of looking at the same statistic.

If the English prosecutors brought before a jury more of the very large majority of rape allegations which go unprosecuted, the conviction rate in England would fall, although there would be some of those extra prosecutions which were indeed successful.

If you bring 100 prosecutions at a 70% conviction rate you have convicted 70 rapists.

If you bring 200 prosecutions at a 50% conviction rate you have convicted 100 rapists, that is 30 more rapists in jail.

But on the conviction rate measure you are less successful, even though you jailed more rapists.

That paradox explains why conviction rates are a stupid measure to use in this conversation.

They are only of concern as a financial measurement. To convict 100 rapists at a 50% conviction rate costs twice as much as to convict just 70 rapists at a 70% conviction rate. Your cost per convicted rapist has increased by 45%.

That is why the CPS in England works to this metric. They put cost effectiveness above justice.

The notion that 52% conviction rates for rape are inadequate, needs to be challenged on another ground too. It is entirely in line with conviction rates for crimes of a similar severity.

Attempted murder 47%
Grievious Bodily Harm 48%
Manslaughter 48%

These are reasonable comparators to rape. Rape Crisis Scotland compare the 52% conviction rate for rape to an alleged overall 90% criminal conviction rate, but that includes the great bulk of summary cases for minor crimes, including not having a TV licence.

For comparable crimes, the conviction rate for rape is in fact not out of line at all.

(Incidentally the conviction rates for serious crimes above are from England. I can’t find any for Scotland. Conviction rates are not centrally collated by government and have to be compiled by academic researchers poring over thousands of cases).

The problem is not juries getting it wrong at trial. The difficulty is getting more cases to trial. Performance here is abysmal.

The urgent need is for much better resourcing in terms of equipment, dedicated personnel and training in Police Scotland, in the NHS, social services and in the Crown Office and in all other associated agencies dealing with those making allegations of rape or sexual assault.

That is expensive and requires thought and co-ordinated, serious action. It is much cheaper to pretend to be doing something, by simply getting rid of juries and instructing judges to increase convictions.

The Scottish Government has made no disguise at all of the fact that the purpose of abolishing juries is to increase the conviction rate. That means a defendant is going to be standing before a judge who has in effect been instructed to convict.

A plainer breach of human rights I find impossible to imagine.

It is also plain that the Scottish Government intends to make sure the judges obey the order to convict.

As Lord Uist has pointed out, for the first time in Scottish history the Criminal Justice Bill makes provision for judges, in the new “special courts”, to be removed from office without evidence of wrongdoing. Uist believes this to be contrary to the ECHR, an interference with judicial independence.

He also points out that the bill provides for the Scottish Government to monitor the performance of the “special courts” and to monitor “outcomes”.

Uist does not specifically add, but I will, that “outcomes” can only mean conviction rates. What other “outcomes” of a court might the Scottish Government be monitoring? It has been made clear higher conviction rates are the purpose, and the judges will be measured on them.

This explains the root and branch opposition of Scottish lawyers.

Anybody can surely see how deeply troubling these proposals are, how fundamentally opposed to any basic principle of justice.

The SNP has always had an authoritarian streak. Its leadership appears to have become utterly power-crazed in its self-righteous mission of social engineering.


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113 thoughts on “Trial By Jury

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  • intp1

    In addition to calls for special Rape courts or special training for judges in rape trials (depends on what that training consists of) it is for me, part of a general tendency to divide the genders and set them against each other. Waiting time for trials should be shortened across the board, Why should a man who is attacked and disfigured wait for longer for justice at the expense of a woman who suffered rape??
    Society is getting more violent and disrupted. An increase in rapes is part of this and are a cowardly, heinous crime but many cases are a matter of misunderstanding/POV and some are even deliberate mis-accusation with malice. Those that are valid should be punished harshly but this crime in particular NEEDs to be a jury trial because of it’s special nature.

    • Tom Welsh

      The trial of Alex Salmond, which Mr Murray covered so comprehensively and professionally (until he was rudely interrupted by judges), provides a superb example of why juries are essential.

      Also Mr Murray’s subsequent incarceration on the unsupported say-so of a lone judge.

      • Ian

        Indeed. I understand why Craig doesn’t want to make this about himself or the Salmond trial, but the implications of both judgements are warnings about the ambitions of this legislation, and the aims of the people who are promoting it.

        • Barry R

          Spot on

          The situation where the judiciary and legislature are so closely entwined makes the entire proposition frightening to say the least.

  • Robert

    I completely agree with every word you say here. I wrote to my MSP about 2 weeks ago saying much the same (but not put so well). No reply.

  • Tom Welsh

    “[The jury] is therefore a much needed safeguard against a state official just banging up people the state wishes to bang up, without just cause. It has been viewed that way for centuries”.

    Since Magna Carta (1215), and doubtless long before. “No free man is to be arrested, or imprisoned, or disseised, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any other way ruined, nor will we go against him or send against him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land”.

    In spite of those last 7 words, the sense of Magna Carta is clearly that a jury is the best guarantee of justice.

    King Alfred is said to have gone on tour reviewing legal judgments, and to have had 44 judges hanged for giving unjust judgments (which included the death penalty).

      • Tom Welsh

        As I understand it (IANAL), Magna Carta has never had the force of law even in England. However in England, Scotland, for all I know Wales, and the USA, it is often cited as a precedent for many of the fundamental freedoms that we would love to have.

  • Zander Tait

    Many many years ago, I was appointed Chairman of the jury at a rape trial at Kilmarnock High Court. It was an education. Unusually for a case of rape there was a witness. Having watched 12 angry men, I conducted our post trial discussions along the lines according to Henry Fonda.

    To my surprise, the jury split along the lines of gender. Most of the women initially declared for not guilty. The men, including me, were convinced of the defendants guilt.

    The treatment of the young girl complainant by the defense lawyer was pretty appalling. The girl lived in a care setting. The medical expert who examined the girl looked to be just out of Uni, was sweating and extremely nervous. He, yes back then male medics examined female victims of rape. He used terms like, “In all my years I have never seen injuries as bad as this”.

    I suspect that the expert had been in the job only for some months and was heavily coached. The jury was shown photos of the girl’s “injuries”. They were very minor.

    We found the accused guilty and he was sentenced to 7 years.

    The SNPs plans for rape trials without juries are an abomination.

    • Tom Welsh

      “We found the accused guilty and he was sentenced to 7 years”.

      Not enough women on the jury, eh? How ironic.

      • Zander Tait

        As I recall, Tom, the male female numbers were pretty even. But yes the irony is there.

        I forgot to add that the accused did not take the stand and our decision was ultimately unanimous.

    • Casual Observer

      ”Unusually for a case of rape there was a witness”

      Thats the key point there? Prompt reporting with the ability to gather forensic evidence will in probably most cases still result in a ‘He said, She said’ argument. Start adding in cases where the alleged offence is reported months or years later, and the whole result depends upon the subjective judgement of a jury, something which they swear on oath not to do? I’m reminded of the observation by Dr Starkey some while back to the effect that the scales of justice have over the last few years had a very large female paw placed on one side.

      We need to get back to the idea that both genders can produce nasty members in equal measure.

    • Jimmeh

      > To my surprise, the jury split along the lines of gender.

      Doesn’t surprise me.

      I was a “juror” on a mock trial for training trainee barristers. It was a rape trial – effectively date-rape. It lasted a day. The jury split cleanly on gender lines. All the jurors (in my opinion) were sincere and honest. There were no “12 Angry Men” bigots, or “let’s finish this and watch the ballgame” scumbags. And yet there was this very clear gender split.

      I don’t know what to make of that. It suggests that the outcome of a rape trial is a toss-up, that depends on the random composition of the jury, which isn’t fair. But it has to be better than leaving it exclusively to the Scottish judiciary, which is plainly politically controlled, and much less fair than juries.


    Even more convinced juries are essential in all cases. A central issue in the Assange case was the absence of juries in Sweden. I would require them in EVERY trial. It’s not a trial without an impartial jury to decide.

    • Tom Welsh

      Although of course Mr Assange was never tried in Sweden, nor even indicted of a crime.

      That was a key point, as was the communication from the present Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition urging the Swedish authorities “not to get cold feet now”.

      Loyal indeed… although one might reasonably wonder “loyal to whom?”

      • John Cleary

        “Loyal to whom?”

        What a redundant question.

        Loyal to the Sovereign, of course.

        “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar,”

        • Tom Welsh

          If you mean by “the Sovereign” the monarch of Great Britain, as I understand it sovereignty resides jointly in the people and the monarch.

          Both of whom, unfortunately, are wholly bereft of political power.

          I suspect that most of the loyalty in our political class is to the real power in our world: the super-rich and their corporations.

          Bearing in mind the memorable definition of an honest politician as one who stays bought.

  • Name (required)

    I am always perplexed by a one pronged attack on an issue.

    especially one that can have such effective other uses.

  • Ian

    So very well, and succinctly, said, Craig. These clear and quite unassailable facts, imho, should be widely disseminated in the public realm, if we wish to have an informed discussion on this subject. Instead we have assertions made, with little evidence or clarity, that ‘something must be done’. And that something is a pernicious, illiterate scheme to abolish judgement by your peers, the only bulwark against the state making life-changing decisions which will be measured not by justice but by statistics of people banged up – regardless of the merits or otherwise of the case.

    I totally agree that if you want to increase conviction of rapists then the solution lies in the far harder problem of getting those cases into court with the support of a well funded infrastructure of support, evidence and confidence in the prosecution system. It is not at the end of the process, but at the beginning where the necessary, if hard, work of change has to take place. But that will not get you headlines and ‘progressive’ kudos. It is entirely in line with the Sturgeon approach to government, which is enabled by close allies, Sturgeon appointees like Dorrian, and government funded groups who parrot the same illiberal, poorly argued assertions with carefully skewed claims and statistics. It is a terrible insult to the intelligence of the populace and all those toiling in the system who believe in striving for fairer systems.

    The blaming of ‘prejudiced’ juries is a revealing insight into the Sturgeon mentality, that ordinary people are not to be trusted, but must be overridden by the ‘better’ prejudices of people who happen to be chosen, and promoted, by the Sturgeon clique – and threatened with the sack if they don’t come up with the ‘right’ convictions, regardless of evidence. Hard to believe that we have come this far, and that they are so emboldened that they are preparing to force this through, after their superficial ‘debate’ and ‘pilot’ trials. We all know the outcome is pre-ordained, as all her previous ‘initiatives’ have been – to clearly calamitous effect, and without any of the claimed benefits.

    • Barry R

      “The blaming of ‘prejudiced’ juries is a revealing insight into the Sturgeon mentality, that ordinary people are not to be trusted, but must be overridden by the ‘better’ prejudices of people who happen to be chosen, and promoted, by the Sturgeon clique – and threatened with the sack if they don’t come up with the ‘right’ convictions, regardless of evidence.”

      That is an excellent observation, I hadn’t considered before. Thank you.

      • Bayard

        The ruling classes have never trusted “ordinary people” to make the “right” decision, hence the rarity of referendums until the Tories reckoned they knew how to rig them to get the answer they wanted, a notion that the Brexit referendum disabused them of. I’ll be surprised if I see another referendum in my lifetime.

  • Stevie Boy

    Just what one would expect from the banana republic that Scotland has become.
    Next, can we expect a new crime of being a white male being introduced ?

    • Zander Tait

      For many years now, I have believed that if you are white, male, heterosexual and smoke, that the World has got it in for you.

      Put another way, “Token Man” became extinct in Scotland eight years ago.

  • Brian c

    An outlandish proposition but one very much in accord with the antidemocratic instincts of PMC neoliberals. Today’s careerist politicians and their supporters believe the world should be run by highly credentialed, infallible, unbiased ‘experts’, all of whom cleave to the prevailing hegemonic ideology. This particular measure is obviously also informed by judges being handpicked by the SNP elite and of course by outrage that a jury thwarted Sturgeon’s plot to have her predecessor jailed on false charges.

  • Dave Llewellyn

    Hi Craig ,
    What nobody’s mentioning is the fact that in every other part of the UK offences do not require corroboration so the word of a MET Policeman could get someone banged whereas under Scots law there must be two either people or 1 person and corroborating evidence of you can go down the rabbit hole and use charges in Hong Kong and at the Hong Kong / Chinese border when I believe jurisdiction in Hong Kong ran out just before Chris Paton. You know how they get police forces from another area to investigate a dodgy one? We need such a thing to root out the shit in our judiciary.

  • Sandy

    Of course the media and the Westminster government will never compare apples to apples when it comes to Scotland.

    Every single time they end up shouting “Our oranges are better than your apples” simply because an equal comparison would show England in a bad light.

    BBC is today telling us “English literacy is ranked 4th highest in the world and Northern Ireland 5th”.

    Scottish students do not sit the test but we are told the Scottish government is failing pupils with such regularity that it has almost become accepted fact in Westminster.

    I thought a trial before a jury of one’s peers was a basic human right.

    Not any more it seems.

    • Tom Welsh

      “I thought a trial before a jury of one’s peers was a basic human right”.

      I quite agree that it would be a basic human right, if such things existed, or if the very concept of “rights” made any sense.

      Even if human rights did have any reality, surely after three years of “COVID” we should all understand that “rights” are given at the pleasure of HMG, and can be withdrawn whenever it likes.

  • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

    I wager with anyone who wants to give me four to one odds that Donald Trump would say ‘yea’ to this:-

    “The current proposition from the Scottish government is that, because conviction rates in rape trials in Scotland are lower than in England – approximately 52% to 75% – that juries should be abolished in rape and sexual assault cases and replaced by specially trained judges.”

  • Twirlip

    Brilliant article – thank you for writing it. You correctly write, “Anybody can surely see how deeply troubling these proposals are, how fundamentally opposed to any basic principle of justice.” Even I could see that – immediately, and instinctively – but I never thought it through like this.

  • Jm

    Given the nauseating stench of corruption in Scotland these last few years Sturgeon, Murrell and the SNP are the very last people you’d want trying to get rid of something as vital as trial by jury.

    It stinks to high heaven.

  • Goose

    As well as being an essential protection against judicial corruption / manipulation. Simply seeing abolishing juries as a mechanism to boost conviction rates is an absurd trivialisation of what it means to have a fair trial and see justice done. When the consequences of getting it wrong are potentially so catastrophic for those wrongly convicted.

    Since the impact of such changes will disproportionately fall on men, you can’t help but wonder if this is driven by the vindictive, conservative feminist-ultras – the SNP ‘sisterhood’ in action? Sturgeon may have gone but the toxic legacy of misandry remains. The SNP leadership seems to hold white, heterosexual Scottish males in something akin to total contempt.

    • Lysias

      When Hitler was dissatisfied by the results of cases coming out of the old German courts run by professional lawyers, he and his party established special courts to assure the right results. (In fact, I believe the last legislation passed by his tame Reichstag was to authorize the necessary changes in the law.)

  • Frank Anderson

    So elementary logic tells you that the cause of difference is not juries (unless you believe there is a fundamental difference in attitudes to rape in English and Scottish society, which seems to me highly improbable).

    However, Sandy Brindley (expensive rent a quote) thinks differently. She said, that there was “overwhelming evidence” that jury members are influenced by “rape myths”
    I assume she thinks this only applies to juries that have found someone not guilty? This is only about getting higher conviction rates nothing to do with justice.
    It also means that a single judge will be totally responsible. It could also be influenced by political interference.

  • Scott Wilson

    “You could achieve a higher conviction rate by the prosecutors bringing fewer cases, only those where the evidence is overwhelming. That is not an outcome anybody wants.”

    That’s exactly what I want to see – “it is better that a 100 guilty men walk free than 1 innocent man is jailed”

    • Goose

      The whole idea of there being a target or quota for rape convictions is pretty obnoxious. Even if a Judge isn’t directly following political orders, Judges would nevertheless be conscious of that background political noise and pressure, and thus likely be intimidated by it. That isn’t conducive to objectivity and a fair hearing. And they’d be affected in a way a more ‘politically ignorant’ jury, tasked with examining the facts, isn’t.

  • stuart mctavish

    Guess it depends how corrupt everyone becomes but another problem with bringing frivolous cases before the courts must be that once precedent for sex without contraception is established as sufficient grounds to be assured of one, eg as reported in the Brad Pitt lookalike case, equality under the law implies that single mums hoping for paternal child support will run extremely high risk of earning themselves a rape conviction simply for not being on the pill at time of conception – especially if the father is not allowed any veto as to whether the case can proceed or not!

    • Tom Welsh

      Logical, but other-wordly.

      Women could never be accused of rape, let alone convicted, if only because all women are Good whereas all men are Bad.

  • Robert Dyson

    Apologies for posting off topic but I note that the John Durham Report confirms what you wrote about the Steele Dossier.
    I agree about juries. I have done jury service in England three times. I was impressed by the discussions we had on each case with many different insights from the different members and I think we came to a fair judgement in each case. Only in one trial was one juror totally blind to the discussion with mind made up.

  • fredi

    The SNP are as odious as the Tories or Labour. There is no real choice in this country, just the illusion of it.

    • Tom Welsh

      “The SNP are as odious as the Tories or Labour”.

      Possibly because their party is so much younger and rawer, they seem to me even worse. But that may well be because they make less effort, and are less able, to cover up their disgusting views and vile dishonesty.

      For many years I regretted being an expatriate Scot; there were so many things I missed, from the Cowal Hills and Edinburgh Castle to decent golf links, honest forthright ministers of religion and outspoken politicians.

      No more. Now I am very glad to be out of the country.

      At least I still have Adam Smith, David Hume, Kenneth McKellar, The Incredible String Band, Highland beef, Scotch whisky, George Galloway, and Mr Murray.

  • gareth

    Yes, special courts would do the job. Stop inconvenient acquittals like Salmond.

    Or maybe change the definition of the offence so that any “problematic” group can more easily be controlled and locked up – why not have the offence conclusively proved by what the accuser “felt in their lived experience as being victimised” or some such, rather than this messy “she said, he said” stuff. Maybe give taxpayer funding for brave victims to come forward and accuse undesirable individuals?

    Thing is, if you have a small country such as Scotland, with “government” taking some 50% of all the money and a woke slow-motion coup, this is what you get. Sad but true, and unlikely to get better, but only worse…

  • A2

    Last time I had to do Jury duty, It was in fact an alleged rape case (side note, the legal definition is broader than most people think) .
    After the young chap was acquitted The Judge gave the prosecutor a dressing down for wasting the courts time stating that the case should never have brought and he was dismayed that it was obvious that the accused was clearly innocent from the outset. He was also scathing about the role of both the police and social workers involved in instigating an investigation.

    From that I have to think that the assumption of higher conviction rates without Jury is just wishful thinking.

  • dearieme

    Suppose a guilty verdict goes to appeal. Is it possible that judges would be happier to overturn a jury verdict than overturn a verdict brought by a fellow judge, or judges?

    I mean, overturning a judge’s verdict might lead to a certain froideur in judicial circles that would not be occasioned by overturning a jury’s verdict.

    Could this be another advantage of jury trials?

  • Mac

    If the conviction rate is ‘too low’ what they are saying is, there have been many many miscarriages of justice. Yet they never are specific about which cases were miscarriages and in what quantity. Why not?

    By doing this they are effectively treating all these innumerable, and entirely independent of each other, courts and juries’ decisions with contempt… without ever offering a shred of evidence for all these implicit claims of ‘wrongful not guilty’ verdicts.

    You only ever get arrogance like this when you encounter deeply stupid people with such an inflated sense of their own self worth. They are thick as pig shit. And that is the ‘innocent’ explanation. (I don’t believe the innocent explanation.)

  • Alf Baird

    Fanon’s postcolonial perspective confirms that a compromised and co-opted national party elite is part of the colonial ‘racket’. It ‘behaves like a gang’ and ‘becomes an instrument of coercion’, much as we see. And whenever the colonial system ‘becomes imperilled’ it reaches for its roots – i.e. ‘fascism’. ‘Colonialism is force’ after all, and that means application of the police and courts, essentially.

    Who would have thought Scotland would sink to such a level. Independence and its ‘decisive moment’ must be closer than we think.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Independence and its ‘decisive moment’ must be closer than we think”.

      Why do you believe that Scottish politicians would behave any better if all external constraints on them were removed? I would expect the exact opposite: they would behave still worse.

      There may be some scientific interest in seeing whether “still worse” is even possible.

  • Dave B

    In terms of the draft bill “removed from office” means the judge is removed from sitting in the Sexual Offences Court. It does not mean that he or she is sacked from being a judge. A Scottish High Court judge can only be sacked by the King following a clearly laid down procedure and the judge must be unfit for office by reason of inability, neglect of duty or misbehaviour. A judge who is removed from the Sexual Offences Court will go back to trying non sexual crimes and dealing with civil cases in the Court of Session.

    I am as appalled by the blatant attempt to gerrymander the system as anyone but with due respect to Lord Uist it does not help to imply that the proposals are worse than they actually are. It is pretty unlikely that an administrative decision to transfer a judge from one type of work to another would fall foul of ECHR

  • Andrew H

    I am not sure why you are so critical of the English crown prosecution service here. It is common sense (and not merely fiscal tight fistedness) not to bring a case to trial unless you have say a 75% chance of winning. A trial is presumably distressing for women involved, and must be doubly so if there is 50-50 chance of the alleged rapist being vindicated. The obvious solution is that Scotland needs to bring fewer cases to trial (and save some money). Justice is not justice unless there is a high probability of conviction – people don’t deserve to be needlessly prosecuted.

    I also question your assertion that there cannot be a difference in attitudes to rape in English and Scottish society. Whenever it comes to Scottish independence, it is clear Scottish are different to English – but no possibility that a Scotsman is more likely to acquit a peer (say due to greater distrust of the court system) than an Englishman. (so perhaps not so much as a different attitude to rape, but a different attitude to the courts). I don’t know – but I question the validity of the assertion being self-evident, without further research.

    • Bob Smith

      It is how the CPS calculate the odds that is the problem. They are usually very cautious as careers and reputations are on the line. An independent lawyer might calculate a 75% chance whereas the CPS say 50% and refuse to prosecute. Getting an independent review of a CPS decision not to prosecute is lengthy and expensive which is why it rarely happens.

      • Andrew H

        I’m sure those working at CPS make mistakes – all professionals do. However, my point was that a target of 75% chance of conviction does not seem unreasonable – and yes prosecutors should earn reputation by success rate (a system where prosecutors are paid by the hour to prosecute regardless of outcome seems far worse). The system of trial by jury forces the entire legal judicial system to build trust with the people because if the people do not trust the police, the investigators and the prosecutors – then there will be fewer convictions. So looking at the difference between conviction rates in Scotland and England there are several possible explanations including prosecutors bringing unwinnable cases and the population as a whole having less trust in the system leading to more acquittals. Trial by jury has never been about fairness – but about ultimate accountability.

        Many countries do no use juries and I do not think we can say that the legal system in these countries is broken. I personally strongly agree with everyone who thinks jury trials should be kept – regardless of conviction rate. If the people do not want to convict, that is ultimately their choice – the state has options to build trust, and abandoning juries seems like the first step in entirely giving up.

      • Andrew H

        I don’t think you can say the problem is with the way the CPS calculates the odds. The figures that Craig gives are the actual conviction rates in England – not the predicted conviction rate.

  • Fazal Majid

    I would argue the judiciary are not independent in either theory or practice in the UK with its doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty and the absence of a constitution of balance of powers.

    It’s worth mentioning that juries were largely an invention of Athenian democracy, and they were used far more extensively than just criminal case, in fact most of the administrative operations of the polis were run by large juries, large specifically to make bribing jurors impractical.

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