17 Sep 2016

Jumbie’s First Law hits Israel Khan

Fighting hard today for the hairy cacahole award is no other than Attorney Israel Khan.

2016-09-17

In response to Chief Justice Archie’s plea for the abolition of jury trials to speed up and unclog the criminal judicial system, Khan had a surprisingly backward view: ‘Only a dictator or a fool will support it.’

Perhaps Khan is unaware that may common law jurisdictions around the world have done away with juries in certain types of trials; in India, juries have been completely removed.

Reasons for not having juries are numerous. Aside from lack of legal knowledge, juries are inherently prone to mistakes, partly from said lack of legal knowledge but also from various biases and ‘Googling’ to find out more about the case and personnel involved. It works in reverse too – lawyers Googling jurors to find their weaknesses and exploit them.

At 1:20 minutes in this video, Khan further shoves his foot deeper into his gob: “The jury trial exists in the common law and is codified in the Constitution.”

That phrase in italics is an outright lie. The Constitution says no such thing. What the Constitution says at Section 5(f)(ii) that no person charged with a criminal offence may be deprived of the right: to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal.

The 4 main arguments brought to support jury trials do not stand up to scrutiny. And less than 3% of criminal trials have a jury anyway according to former UN Appeals Judge Geoffrey Robertson QC:

In crime, too, the jury has a reduced role. 97% of criminal cases are decided by lay justices or district judges, who may impose prison sentences of up to a year (in cases of contempt of court, heard by judges alone, the sentence may be two years).

So Khan is speaking from a very uninformed position, and would do well to hobble his gob for a bit.

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