The shortcomings of our justice system in dealing with sexual violence has been a frequent topic of discussion at THM, and an article in yesterday's Dom Post provides more food for thought.
Unbeknownst to me - and probably many of us - it's common practice for Police to provide Crown prosecutors with info on potential jurors before a trial. Jurors can be vetted on the basis of this information, which includes their criminal convictions, acquittals, withdrawn charges, jurors' criminal associations and which jurors had been crime victims.
Lawyers are petitioning the Supreme Court, claiming the practice of vetting is a miscarriage of justice. The Solicitor-General has defended the practice, arguing that it would be inappropriate to have a convicted sex offender on the jury of a sexual violence trial.
But what should be the limits of this vetting, and what checks and balances govern (or ought to govern) the information which Police can provide? What's the threshold for deciding someone's not suitable to be on a jury? What crimes should disqualify a person from being a juror, and under what circumstances? What's the rationale for removing victims of crime from juries - do we think they'll be hysterical and irrational? And what does it mean to be judged by one's peers anyway?
There are a lot of questions to be asked here, and trade offs to be made between seem ethical values and others. I look forward to the insightful comments of THM readers...