Jury deliberations may be studied

Deliberations of juries in criminal trials could be studied, under plans being considered by the government. Research could look at the key factors behind a verdict and whether there was any evidence of gender or racial bias. The Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, has published a consultation paper on the issue, designed to identify ways to investigate claims of jury impropriety. The consultation also aims to develop ideas for improving support for jurors. Jury discussions are currently secret. BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw reported that Lord Falconer said the government had an “open mind” on the issue.The Lord Chancellor added that any research would be subject to strict safeguards protecting jurors’ privacy. Lord Falconer told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “You’ve got to keep the deliberations of the jurors secret, they have got to be confident that they can deliberate with it never being published and only in the rarest possible occasions even being investigated in any way.”

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