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  • Aug 07, 2019
      The jury plays a very important role in the legal system. A jury is not required in every legal case but only if the alleged offence is a minor one or a case is in Special Criminal Court. A jury can be present in some civil cases in defamation and assault cases. However, there is no jury for the majority of civil cases such as personal injuries actions and family law cases. The jury mostly consists of 12 members of the public who sit in a box to one side of the judge. Before the case starts, one of the jurors is selected as a foreman of the jury by the members of the jury itself. He/she acts as an informal chairperson and a spokesperson for the jury. The jurors are given the responsibility of deciding whether, on the facts of the case, a person is guilty or not guilty of the offence for which he/she has been charged. Considering only the evidence introduced in court and the directions of the judge the jury moves to its verdict. The jury does not interpret the law anyhow. It follows the directions of the judge as it regards the legal matters. Jurors may take notes of proceedings during all stages of the trial. Jurors may also pass notes to the foreman or forewoman of the jury to ask the judge to explain certain aspects of the case. After the trial, the jurors are given an issue paper, which states the issues that the jury must consider in reaching its verdict. When the jury has reached its decision, it will return to the court and the verdict will be read out by the foreman or forewoman in front of the judge. The jury has no role in sentencing. This decision is left up to the judge following submissions made by both sides.    
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