Previous records of criminals...

Discussion in 'News & Debates' started by tina3747, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. tina3747

    tina3747 Mummy of 2 gorgeous boys!

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    Should they be disclosed to members of a jury when On trial?

    The Steven laurence case is being hi lighted right now where the judges has said that the past should be irrelavent when coming to decision.
    Also the Vincent Tabac / Jo yeates case, what if he'd been found not guilty then all the previous evidence about his computer being filled with things on how to suffocate someone ect...

    Is the law different in the US?
     
  2. robinator

    robinator Guest

    Tough one - one could argue that the jury should know so they are aware of that fact that the person on trial is capable of committing a crime, but on the other hand, we are innocent until proven guilty. If previous records are brought in, then the jury would most likely assume the defendant is automatically guilty, and he/she would not get a fair trial. After all, it is entirely possible that even though they have a criminal past, the person did not commit this PARTICULAR crime which he/she is being tried for...
     
  3. smelly07

    smelly07 Mummy of 2 girls & wifey

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    NO it could influence the jury in their decision and the defendent may actually be innocent of the crime they are being tried for.
     
  4. Ozzieshunni

    Ozzieshunni Guest

    This :thumbup: It would be kinda like the sexual history of a rape victim coming into play during trial.
     
  5. Nibblenic

    Nibblenic Well-Known Member

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    Having been on a Jury I think it needs to be more fair. So for example in one case we sat and listened to all the criminality of the 'victim' and he was ran through the mill on the stand. Where the defendant choose not to speak or go on the stand and we were not told anything about his extensive criminal history until after we'd delivered our sentence.

    I do think it is wrong to bring previous convictions into the trail, I definitely think it would have swayed one of your decisions. However I think it should be a fair level field where the accuser or victims previous history cannot be brought in also.
     
  6. blondey

    blondey Well-Known Member

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    I prepare the bad character evidence for magistrate court cases and to be honest reading someone's previous convictions does often make you assume that they have committed this offence also. (most of the time they are frequent flyers in the system so they probably have done it!!)

    But I think if bad character evidence could be brought in automatically then it might lead to the prosecution getting lazy with their cases and relying on the defendant's past rather than building a case with the evidence though.

    The previous convictions can have an impact upon sentencing though IF found guilty.
     
  7. Lightworker

    Lightworker Well-Known Member

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    It is a toughie. I can see why they don't want to disclose the past as every crime should be judged on its own. However, I think it can be abit detrimental to the course of justice (and also abit unrealistic TBH) to completely exclude the past because some criminologists will argue that some offences will usually be one in a series of offences, or some offenders will continue to re-offend etc.

    I can imagine the furore in a court where the judge directs the jury "When considering the verdict, please ignore that he has been suspected of killing 10 women, in exactly the same way over the last 2 years"...

    Another thing I know they do/did consider was not really the innocence or guilt of the defendant, but rather his character. If it was evidence as to what type of person he was, then they can/could admit evidence of previous convictions. I think that should remain. x
     
  8. TeresaG

    TeresaG Mummy to a little girl

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    I think it is tough. Just because someone has committed a crime before doesn't necessarily mean they are guilty this time. In some ways I think that people shoudl be aware of exactly the type of person the defendant is. At the same time I think that it could sway the jury to think they are guilty based on past evidence when they not be.
     

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