- Rick Sarre
- is adjunct professor of law and criminal justice at the University of South Australia
- This piece was originally published on the Conversation
donderdag, april 09, 2020
" Nolite Timere" * Appeal judges are reluctant to overturn jury verdicts. So why did they do it for George Pell?
"no more than a plain vanilla sexual penetration case
where the child is not volunteering or actively participating".
Pell's barrister Robert Richter QC
But in cases such as Pell, the high court has reinforced the notion that, despite the jury having the primary responsibility of determining the guilt or innocence of a person on trial, its responsibility can be subject to a higher order.
This is because, ultimately, the appeal courts have been given an overriding responsibility of determining for themselves whether a jury decision is a safe decision that has not been infected with the hue and cry or matters outside the evidence that was put to them.
Whatever one may think , it is appropriate there be such a final arbiter in the justice process.
But one victim of this appeal result may be a loss of public confidence in the jury system. At the other end of the spectrum, others may lose confidence in the justice system itself.
I trust that neither is the outcome. But one could be excused for feeling a general uneasiness about the fact that, for all the store we place on juries in determining issues of guilt and innocence, their role can be dispensed with so easily."