News Item

Retain the oath in trials

You may have read this headline in the Australian of 19 April 2023 “Religious jurors more likely to find secular defendants guilty.” It is not true.

This the main finding of the study was that “Overall, the defendant was not considered guiltier when affirming rather than swearing, nor did mock-juror belief in God moderate this effect.”

The publicised conclusion and the article are a long way separated from the fact. The claim of discrimination is an assertion not a finding. The study also shows that jurors who affirmed discriminated in that they were more likely to find defendant not guilty. That too may be a bias.

The study does nothing substantial to take account of submissions, evidence, judge’s direction and most importantly jury deliberations. Artificial research leads to poor conclusions.

The oath is a significant part of our trial system and must be retained.

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