Describe the System of Trial by Jury. Should the System remain as it is at Present? The jury's job is to use the facts given from both the defence and the prosecution and to use evidence alone, to decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty. Since 1972, names have been randomly selected from the electoral role. These people are then called up to do 'jury service'. Jury service is compulsory unless excused. To qualify for jury service, you must be between the ages of eighteen and seventy and ordinarily resident in the UK for five years since the age of thirteen. (Juries Act 1974, s. 1).
There are two types of excusals. 'As of right' refers to either MP's and members of the House of Lords; members of the medical professions and armed forces; members of certain religious bodies and those who have served on a jury in the previous two years.
The other excusal is 'discretionary'. Others may be excused at the discretion of the judge if they show good reason, such as childcare problems, holidays booked which would clash with the jury service, personal involvement with the facts of the case, or conscientious objection. Where appropriate, jury service may be deferred rather than excused completely.
There are five categories of people who are ineligible for jury service. Those concerned with the administration of justice (police, barristers and solicitors etc) because they are involved with the law in a professional capacity, and they could become biased against the defendant. The clergy are ineligible because it is believed that their moral views might conflict with the facts. People with mental ill health obviously cannot make sound judgement and are therefore ineligible. People on bail in criminal proceedings (s. 42 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order...