OFFICE OF THE SHERIFF New South Wales

clangpotatoSoftware and s/w Development

Oct 28, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

76 views

OFFICE OF THE SHERIFF

New South Wales

Siobhan Ryan

Juror Support Program Coordinator

NSW Sheriff's Office

2

Jury Room Dynamics

“One man against 10... the jury that went to war”


“Ten days ago, as the rest of Sydney enjoyed a mid
-
autumn
Sunday, 5 men & 6 women walked off a bus and into the
old ground floor jury room in Oxford Street’s Central
Criminal Court.


“There they ended their three months together in acrimony &
bitterness”


Sydney Morning Herald, May 17, 2000 p.1

The Juror Support Program was:


Established in August 2000 to address the
welfare of jurors



Developed in response to reports that some
jurors find the experience distressing



Based on a belief that some of these jurors
would benefit from professional counselling

The Juror Support Program offers:


Professional counselling provided by registered
clinical psychologists across the state (via 3
contracted agencies)



Available 7days/24hrs


telephone & face
-
face
counselling



Sheriff’s Office covers the cost of up to 3 sessions
(additional sessions provided on application to the Office)



Jurors may choose to access other health
professionals for personal and/or cultural reasons
-

this cost is covered by the Sheriff's Office also.


JSP Information Strategy


Sheriff & Court Officers are trained in dealing with
distressed jurors & delivering information about the
JSP



Jurors are informed after
discharge



Sheriff/Court Officer reads out a standard script
acknowledging common reactions & introducing the
JSP.
(these notes were approved by Director General)



Jurors are invited to take a pamphlet outlining:


common feelings & reactions


how the JSP works


contact details of contracted counselling agencies


Evaluation of the

Juror Support Program


March 2003



NSW Sheriff’s Office

Survey Distribution & Return


An Independent Project Team provided final
version of the survey instrument & 2,000 return
address mailing labels.



Sheriff’s Office randomly selected 2,000
discharged jurors.



Jurors received a covering letter, survey & postage
paid, return addressed envelope.



Jurors had 2 months to return.



Participation was optional & anonymous.


Overall return rate was 48% (approx 900 surveys)


Survey Contents


Demographic information about the respondent



Details of most recent jury service



Impact of jury service on the respondent



Feedback on the effectiveness of the JSP
information strategy



Feedback on the need for the JSP



Feedback from JSP users

Demographic Mix of Respondents


Almost equal proportions of males & females


Representative spread across 6 age groups


Cultural background


84% from English speaking backgrounds


13% from non

English speaking backgrounds


1% identifying as Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander


Employment Status


73% employed/contracted


15% retirees


6% home makers


4% unemployed or student




Jury Experience of Respondents


80% were 1st time jurors.



67% served at a District Court.



28% served at the Supreme Court.



94% served on a criminal trial.

Location & Type of Trials


Location


Downing Street (46%)


Newcastle (17%)


Wollongong (14%)


Dubbo (9%)


Darlinghurst (7%)


Queens Square (6%)



Trial Type


Sexual assault (26%)



Murder (20%)



Drugs (17%)



Robbery (16%)



Assault (15%)



Length & Outcomes of Trials


Length


< 2 weeks (75%)



2

4 weeks (17%)



4

6 weeks (2.5%)



6

8 weeks (2.2%)



> 8 weeks (2%)



Outcome


Not guilty (37%)



Guilty (33%)



Discharged before
verdict (24%)



Jury did not agree (5%)

Major Findings

Evaluation of the

Juror Support Program

Immediate Feelings After Discharge


49% were
satisfied

they’d played their part.


38% felt
good

about the overall experience.



9% were
worried

about the verdict & its impact.


3% were
anxious

for the victim/accused/family.



9% were
upset
about jury room dynamics.


7% were
concerned

about the jury’s decision.



15% were
frustrated
by the legal process.


12% were
curious

about sentencing/appeal.




Feeling Good & Satisfied
About Jury Service


More Likely to Report



Older people



Men



People from English
Speaking
Backgrounds



1st time jurors


Less Likely to Report


Jurors discharged
before verdict



Juries that did not
agree

Feeling Worried or Anxious about
the Verdict & its Impact on the
Victim/Accused/Family



More Likely to Report



Jurors serving 4

6 weeks



Jurors passing a guilty
verdict



Women



Supreme Court Jurors


Less Likely to Report



Jurors serving less than 2
weeks



Juries discharged before
verdict



Students, retired,
homemakers



Jurors on civil cases

Feeling Upset or Concerned
about Jury Dynamics or Decision



More Likely to Report



Juries that did not agree



Jurors passing a guilty
verdict



Women



Supreme Court Jurors



Jurors on murder trials


Less Likely to Report



Juries discharged before
verdict

Feeling Curious or Frustrated
about Sentencing/Appeals or the
Legal Process



More Likely to Report


Women


Jurors from English
speaking backgrounds


Jurors aged 25

34


1st time jurors


Jurors passing a guilty
verdict


Supreme Court Jurors


Jurors on murder or
kidnapping trials



Less Likely to Report



Jurors on civil cases



Juries discharged before
verdict



Jurors serving for shorter
periods

Strategies Used to Address Concerns


32% spent time thinking about the trial


(More likely to occur with murder trials, longer trials)



14% talked to someone they knew


(Women, 1st timers, Supreme Court, criminal cases,
murder trials)



3% thought about contacting the Juror Support
Program


(Women, Supreme Court, murder trials, longer cases,
guilty verdicts)


Strategies that Eased Concerns


Talking it over with others (21%)



The passage of time (15.4%)



Reading the Juror Support Program brochure (5%)



Assistance from Court Staff (5%)



Hearing the presentation on the JSP (3%)



Talking to a JSP Counsellor (0.4%)



Nothing, still worried about the case (3%)

Juror Support for the JSP


83% agreed that the Juror Support Program should
be available.



9% reported that it made no difference if the JSP
was there.
(These were more likely to be men, people who did not
speak English at home, District Court jurors).

Sample Comments

Conclusions from the Evaluation


Jury service can be distressing for some jurors, particularly on long,
criminal trials.



Verbal & written information about the Juror Support Program
helps some jurors to see their concerns as natural & normal.



The vast majority of jurors use their own resources effectively to
ease any concerns arising from jury service.



The JSP generally provides valuable support to its users.



The JSP has adequate flexibility to respond to the needs of
individual jurors.



Demand for the JSP is unlikely ever to be high.



The JSP is a cost efficient and effective support program for jurors.


NSW Sheriff's Office

24

Open Forum

?

?