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Higgins Judge Weighs In On The Future Of Trial By Jury

More than 50 potential jurors for Donald Trump’s trial were dismissed on the first day, claiming they couldn’t be impartial.

The final 12 will have to decide whether Trump falsified business records to cover up a sex scandal with porn star Stormy Daniels

Trial by jury is hundreds of years old, where 12 jurors decide the guilt or innocence of a fellow citizen. 

In an age of social media and increased political polarisation, some question whether juries still deliver justice in high-profile cases.

Chief Justice Lucy McCallum, who presided over the trial between Bruce Lehrmann and Brittany Higgins, spoke to The Briefing about the future of trial by juries:

Trump has been forced to listen while lawyers ask everyday New Yorkers for their thoughts on him and America. The responses have been divided.

Judge McCallum said in the US, “The lawyers can question potential jurors about their views, their social media platforms, and so on. In Australia, we have deliberately resisted that.”

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US lawyers interrogate jurors to decide whether they’re impartial, while in Australia the court works on the assumption that they’re impartial.

“I’ve seen more trials abandoned in the last couple of years than probably say twenty years ago,” she said.

The trial between Bruce Lehrmann and Brittany Higgins was abandoned due to juror misconduct.

Judge McCallum, who presided over the case, said that jurors are always asked to disclose misconduct on the part of another juror.

“I think people find that hard to do, but it’s really important that that information gets passed on to the Judge”.

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