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Jury Empanelment

There are given sets of rules and procedures that must be strictly followed in constituting a jury panel. Failure to conform with the rules will result in a mistrial or the jury to be declared as unlawfully constituted as stated in the case of R v Panozzo; R v Iaria (2003) 8 VR 548.

Prior to the empanelment of the jurors, they must be informed of the following matters: a) the type of charge b) the name of the accused c) the names and numbers of the principal witnesses that are expected to be called d) the duration of the trial as estimated and e) any other relevant information which the court may think as important.

To prevent embarrassment by the jurors during the trial of the case, they must be provided with a list of all the names of the witnesses and the length of time the court ordinarily sits as well as any proposed breaks in the trial. If there is a need for the judge to inform and provide the jury of other information, the judge must first discuss the matter with the counsels of the litigating parties.

The juror can ask the court to be excused from jury service. However, there are guidelines and reasons for one to be excused from jury service on the trial as provided under Section 32 (3) of the Juries Act 2000. Some of the reasons a juror can be excused from jury service are employment difficulty, health disabilities and physical conditions which prevent a juror from sitting for a long time.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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