In the world of dogs, NSW Lieberal Party leader John ‘Phydeaux‘ Brogden would be an elderly toy poodle; half blind and not quite sure what to bark at.
Nevertheless, Phydeaux yaps his head off enthusiastically, usually at phantasmic threats. Since Phydeaux was never able to wee on Bob Carr’s leg, he’s now yapping and snapping at nebulous fears of a weak justice system in Australia, which he thinks frees too many crims.
I’ve never thought of the test of ‘beyond reasonable doubt‘ as particularly pusillanimous, but Phydeaux is certain that unanimous agreement of jurors on a verdict is just too lenient and biased toward exonerating guilty defendants. Phydeaux thinks he will make it easier for prosecutors to obtain convictions if only 11 out of 12 jurors must agree on a verdict (10 out of 11 if a juror is excused from a case). He’s only half right.
Phydeaux will have a coronary when he finds out that rules in free world courtrooms usually go both ways. Prosecutors may have rights to evidenciary discovery and to subpoena witnesses… but so does a defence. If Phydeaux’s kangaroo court can convict with only 90% of the jurors’ assent, it must also be able to exonerate with that same 90%.
Phydeaux’s idea of law-n-order (which incidentally doesn’t really appear to be lacking in NSW) is built on filling the jails… and then building some more. Doesn’t matter if justice is well served or even fair. According to Phydeaux, 90% guilty is guilty enough to convict. Damn the ten percent doubt!
Phydeaux devalues all citizens when he says that the opinion of one dissenting juror doesn’t matter enough to change a verdict. Our courts weigh justice for the public good, not for party political goals… no matter how tall and scary the straw-man is that Phydeaux erects for the Lieberals’ purposes.
For the public being served by the courts to be convinced of a defendant’s guilt, jury unanimity is required. If there is even one dissenter on a jury, there’s good cause to suspect that there is reasonable doubt in the verdict.
Majority verdicts are not good for the community- they are only good for lazy prosecutors or those who can’t prove their cases without a little unfair advantage.
If Phydeaux can’t live with Australian standards of justice, he ought to go hang out at Gitmo with David Hicks.
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