Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New Zealand scraps plans to introduce inquisition, do away with jury trials, for sex cases

New Zealand scraps plans to introduce inquisition for sensitive court cases involving children or victims of sexual assault. The proposed system, as opposed to the adversarial system in effect, would enable judges to interview victims of sexual crimes, get assistance from specially trained jurors, or come to a verdict without a jury.

The inquisitorial model was designed to protect victims or children from the pressure and stress of appearing in the courtroom. Legal experts were wary of a change to New Zealand's adversarial process because it could breach a Bill of Rights provision that anyone accused of an offence that carried a jail term of three months or more could elect trial by jury.