Friday, April 25, 2008

Kenny MacAskill - Reduction of Scots jury members on the cards

In a push on squeezing Scots rights from all corners, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill recently comments he would be open to reducing jury sizes from 15 down to 11 or even fewer (none ?).

Hopefully more informed elements of the legal profession will grasp the matter and take it in hand ...

BBC News reports :

Review could reduce jury numbers

The number of people serving on a jury could be reduced as part of a review by the Scottish Government.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said he would be open to reducing jury sizes from 15 down to 11 or even fewer.

The Scottish Government is to carry out a public consultation on the jury system this summer.

In an interview for The Firm legal magazine, Mr MacAskill said he would be surprised if the investigation found the current 15 was the right number.

At the moment, Scotland has the largest number of jurors sitting in a criminal trial in Europe.

Mr MacAskill said: "We have to get the right system for the next and for other generations.

He added: "In some jurisdictions, it could be down as low as seven for some matters, up to 11 for others."

The justice secretary said the Scottish Government was keen to look at a system that had not been reviewed "since almost time immemorial".

The Firm magazine is campaigning to reduce the size of a jury in Scotland from 15 members to 11.

Editor Richard Draycott said jury remuneration costs £4m per year.

He added: "We will continue to speak up for the interests of the profession and campaign for evolution and reform of the law if there is a strong argument for doing so."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "We intend to launch a public consultation on juries in the summer.

"This will examine a range of issues including jury composition, age limits, remuneration and issues about selection.

"However, as with any consultation we have no fixed views and hope to hear from a range of interested groups and individuals."

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