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Internet Hooked Youngsters Make for Bad Jurors, Says UK Lord Chief Justice

by VR Sreeraman on November 8, 2008 at 1:11 PM
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 Internet Hooked Youngsters Make for Bad Jurors, Says UK Lord Chief Justice

The senior-most judge in England and Wales has said that youngsters who are hooked on to the Internet are not used to listening for long periods and thus would not make good jurors.

Lord Judge of Draycote, the Lord Chief Justice, said in a speech that young jurors should be given information on screens because in his opinion, that's how they are used to catch information.

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"Most are technologically proficient. Many get much information from the Internet. They consult and refer to it. They are not listening. They are reading," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.

He added: "One potential problem is whether, learning as they do in this way, they will be accustomed, as we were, to listening for prolonged periods.
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"Even if they have the ability to endure hours and days of sitting listening, how long would it be before some ask for the information on which they have to make their decision to be provided in forms which adapt to modern technology?

"Our system of jury trials depends on 12 good men and women and true coming to court and listening to the case. Orality is the crucial ingredient of the adversarial system.

"Witnesses speak and answer questions. Counsel speak and address the jury. Judges speak and give directions."

He further sad that these days, jurors are provided information on screens, such as in complex fraud trials, but "not without difficulty and with great expense", he said.

He said: "What about the defendant's oral testimony and child witness complaining of an indecent assault which the defendant adamantly denies?

"What process aimed at finding the truth between them, and enabling a jury to decide where the truth lies, will be in place in 25 years time? What will happen to our oral tradition? Should it, will it, be forced to change?"

Lord Judge claimed that it wouldn't be possible to avoid the fact that some jurors defy a judge's direction and make "private enquiries" into a case using the Internet.

Although he said that her didn't want solutions to these concerns, he still suggested that in the future the courts system must be "capable of development and adaptable for the future".

Source: ANI
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