Thursday 8 December 2016

Colum Kenny: Jury's still out on how we choose who judges peers

Why are politicians and public servants exempt from carrying out their civic duty, asks Colum Kenny

Published 18/04/2010 | 05:00

It is too easy for some of us to escape jury duty. The fact is that not all citizens want to sit in judgment. It is not merely a matter of fearing intimidation by criminals. A trial may run on and on, and can result in a serious loss of earnings as well as time.

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Last week, garda superintendents expressed concern that lists of jurors may be falling into the wrong hands. They want to ensure that lawyers do not share jurors' names with their hardened criminal clients. It is a symptom of our sick state.

But should juries themselves be abolished or reformed? Why not extend even further the use of non-jury courts for serious crimes? Might we do away with juries in all defamation cases? As things stand, the richer you are the easier it is to escape jury duty if you wish to do so.

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