Justice Polls

A huge majority of respondents to a Herald digi-poll support juries knowing the criminal history of defendents. A whopping 68% support juries knowing such history, with only 28% against.

The concern with having juries know a defendent’s criminal history is that they may judge them not on the facts of the current case, but based on their previous behaviour.

However the reality is we live in an information age, and criminal convictions are a matter of public record. I suspect more and more jurors do unofficially know the background of defendants through Google searches etc. There may be some merit in having criminal histories known to the jury, but accompanied with strict guidelines from the Judge as to what you can and can not infer from them.

Only 40% support ending the right of silence, and I am definitely in the other 60%. No-one should be obliged to incriminate themselves, and more importantly we have a right to privacy in our affairs.

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