Labour support no juries for some trials

The Herald reports:

trials could be heard before a judge alone – not a jury – under radical proposals before the Government.

Justice Minister is weighing a Law Commission report that could transform the legal process for both complainant and accused.

The primary recommendation – likely to be implemented with broad support – is to try out a specialist sexual violence court, with expert judges and lawyers.

But other ideas are much more controversial, including scrapping juries in favour of another model. …

Labour’s spokeswoman on sexual and family violence, Poto Williams, said in many cases she believed a judge alone or other entity would be better than a jury. However, would still be needed in some situations, and how that was decided would be critical.

In NZ you have the right to opt for a jury trial if the offence has a maximum punishment of two years or more. The maximum penalty for sexual violation is 20 years. I think it would be terrible to take away the right to a jury trial from a defendant facing up to 20 years in jail.

Still it is not as bad as Andrew Little’s policy proposal that someone accused of should have to prove beyond reasonable doubt there was consent.  His idea was you are deemed guilty unless you can prove you are innocent.

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