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Juror intimidation spurs major investigation in WA

Juror intimidation spurs major investigation in WA

In the wake of a public outcry about the intimidation of juries in Western Australia, the state's government has sought legal advice and undertaken a rigorous investigation into the issue.

IN the wake of a public outcry about the intimidation of juries in Western Australia, the state’s government has sought legal advice and undertaken a rigorous investigation into the issue.

Findings of a new report commissioned by the previous Labor government now been released by the state’s Attorney General Christian Porter.

Porter has released sections of the report, ‘Juror Intimidation? An investigation into the prevalence and nature of juror intimidation in Western Australia’. I comes after public concern about the possibility of jury intimidation occurring in high profile, serious and organised crime trials.

Porter said it had been necessary to seek legal advice in relation to the report prior to any release of its findings.

The report, which finds occurrences of such intimidation is low, can not be released in full.

“Under the Juries Act, statements made, opinions expressed or the nature of arguments made by members of a jury in its deliberations are protected,” Porter said.

“Much of the research underpinning Ms Fordham’s report is of this protected nature and it would not be appropriate - indeed it would be illegal, to publish such information.

“However, my view is that the statistical findings of the report and [Judith] Fordham’s recommendations will be of interest to the public and should be made available.

“While it would be inappropriate and against the confidential nature of deliberations under the Juries Act to publish comments or opinions expressed by individual juries, I can authorise the release of the statistical findings of the report.

“Fordham’s research was primarily conducted to provide government with a source of information in relation to jury intimidation in WA.

“Her research is of great interest to the State Government and her recommendations will be taken into consideration,” Porter said.


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