Hung juries and aborted trials: An analysis of their prevalence, predictors and effects
|Joanne Baker, Adrian Allen and Don Weatherburn
|Crime and Justice Bulletin No. 66
Court processes and delay; Juries
|juries, hung juries, trials, NSW District Cjuries, hung juries, trials, NSW District Courtourt
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This bulletin assesses the demand placed on the District Court by these trials and identifies factors which predict whether or not a jury is likely to be hung or a trial to be aborted.
About one in every six trials held in the New South Wales District Court fails to reach a conclusion either because the jury is unable to reach a verdict or because the judge aborts the trial. This bulletin assesses the demand placed on the District Court by these trials and identifies factors which predict whether or not a jury is likely to be hung or a trial to be aborted. It is estimated that halving the prevalence of hung juries and aborted trials would allow the District Court to dispose of an additional 44 trial cases per year. The findings on predictive factors indicate that juries are more likely to be hung if the trial is held in a metropolitan court than if held in a country court; if the trial lasts longer than three days; and if no adjournment is sought. Trials are more likely to be aborted if they are held in Sydney; if they involve multiple offence counts; if the offences involved are sex offences, violent offences or fraud; if there are multiple accused; if there is a voir dire; if the trial is a jury rather than a judge-alone trial; and if no bench warrant has been issued.