jury tampering

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The act of influencing or attempting to influence, either directly or through a third party, the deliberations or decisions of a jury during the course of a trial, by bribery, intimidation, or any other unlawful means. Part 7 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, which came into effect on 24 July 2006, provides for a trial to be conducted without a jury where there is a real and present danger of jury tampering, or continued without a jury where the jury has been discharged because of it. In either event, the court must be satisfied that, notwithstanding any steps that could reasonably be taken to prevent it (including police protection), the risk of jury tampering is so substantial as to make it necessary in the interests of justice for the trial to be conducted in that way. Section 44(6) of the Act provides three examples where the provisions might be invoked: where a jury in a previous trial of the accused was discharged because jury tampering had taken place; where such tampering has taken place in previous criminal proceedings in which the accused was involved; and in cases where there has been intimidation, or attempted intimidation, of any person likely to be called as a witness in the proceedings. It is clear, then, that evidence of a wider threat to the integrity of the process may found an application. The rationale for this is that if there is evidence that the accused is prepared to attack the process, there must be a real and present danger that the jury is also at risk. Where a trial is conducted or continued without a jury and a defendant is convicted, the court is required to give its reasons for the conviction. See also intimidation; trial by crown court judge alone.

Subjects: Law.

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