Jury trials to resume in the ACT

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ACT Chief Justice Helen Murrell.

THE ACT Law Society has welcomed the announcement by Chief Justice Helen Murrell, to resume jury trials in Canberra on June 15.

Jury trials were suspended in compliance with government guidelines on social distancing during the COVID-19 emergency.

Law Society president Chris Donohue said: “The society is satisfied that the court will apply appropriate measures to implement such trials in a safe and effective manner.

“We urge all legal practitioners, and any others involved in such trials, to ensure they fully comply with the measures put in place by the court.”

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  1. It is undoubtedly pleasing to see that jury trials will shortly resume in Canberra.
    The resumption does not, of course, mean that the young man already denied the right to a jury trial has automatically had his rights restored.

    However, he has, as was surely expected by everyone in Canberra other than Attorney-General, Gordon Ramsay and Minister for Justice Shane Rattenbury, the two Ministers principally responsible for this travesty, appealed to the High Court.

    I don’t know what the grounds of the appeal are but the much offended against citizen is presumably arguing that the subject law under which he was denied this fundamental right was beyond power in some way.

    It is always a bit of a worry for a Government when the High Court is invited to stick its beak into the extent of a State or Territory’s legislative or constitutional power. One can never be entirely sure what the Court may decide. It is also the case that a Territory is far more vulnerable than a State.

    Depending on your disposition the appeal could, in any event, be quite a hoot. Imagine for instance if the aggrieved appellant cheekily argues that not only the Act which purportedly denied him a right to a trial by jury was beyond power but that the ACT Self Government Act is itself a bit dodgy.

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