YEP Says: We must not take our jury system for granted


ALL too often we take the work of jurors for granted,

These people deliver judgments on behalf of society against a whole range of accused involving everything from relatively trivial crime to murder and terrorism.

These jurors are by their very nature ordinary people who perform extraordinary tasks and help keep our legal system fair. To be tried by your peers is at the very heart of our justice system.

But do we really appreciate the importance of their work? Do we really acknowledge the work that jurors do on our behalf? And do we do enough to protect them?

The legal case in Leeds where, allegedly, jurors were approached and asked to deliver a verdict in return for payment is concerning. In court, jurors may seem aloof and beyond contact. That is how it should be. They should be free to come to their decisions without fear of criticism or pressure.

But on their way home, they are vulnerable, as the facts in this case seem to illustrate.

What should we do as a society? Jurors need to be protected and people who approach them need to be quickly brought before the courts and strong sentences must be given out.

Jurors have gone about their business for centuries. It would be a shame if we lost their independent judgments. They are needed now more than ever.