Effectiveness of the Australian's Criminal Trial Process in Achieving Justice

1345 words 6 pages
Evaluate the effectiveness of the criminal trial process in achieving justice

Justice is the concept of moral rightness that is based on equality, access and fairness. This means that the law is applied equally, understood by all people and does not have a particularly harsh effect on an individual. In Australia, the adversary system is used as a means to achieve justice by proving the accused, beyond reasonable doubt, committed the crime. The criminal trial process has many features which aim to fulfill the requirements of achieving justice. These elements, though considers equality, fairness and access, are flawed in practice. Flaws such as the handling of evidence, jurors not understanding instructions, inadequate funds for legal
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Defects in juries also lie with the jurors themselves. Indicated from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research Australia, ‘Crime and Justice Bulletin” (2008), only 75 per cent of jurors understood that beyond reasonable doubt meant ‘sure’ or ‘almost’ sure’. Other findings include that 25.2 per cent of juror understood little or nothing of the judge’s instruction. Justice cannot be achieved if the basis of what determines a verdict is not understood by those who are voting on it. This is evident in the case, R v. Leach and Brennan QLD (2010), the jurors, despite Leach being guilty of the crime, was returned with a not guilty verdict. Leach has illegally procured abortion but the jurors ignored the instructions of the jury (jury nullification). Jurors revoked the ‘equality’ aspect of justice as clearly, Leach was beyond reasonable doubt guilty and the jury disregarded it. This can be paralleled with the research conducted by The Chicago Jury Project which shows that the judge only agreed with 75 per cent of the verdict given by juries. The law needs to be applied to all in the same manner and this has been overlooked, therefore there are inconsistencies and inefficiencies to providing justice.
Legal representation plays a key role in determining the outcome of a trial. Because people who have better legal representation tend to have a better chance of winning, there is negative commentary that