Juries Amendment Act 2008

19 New heading and sections 29C and 29D inserted
  • (1) The following heading and sections are inserted before the heading above section 30:

    Majority verdicts

    29C Criminal cases
    • (1) In this section, majority verdict means, in relation to a jury that, at the time of its verdict, consists of a certain number of jurors, a verdict agreed to by all except 1 of them.

      (2) The Court may accept a majority verdict in a criminal case if—

      • (a) the jury, having retired to consider its verdict, has deliberated for at least 4 hours; and

      • (b) the jurors have not reached a unanimous verdict; and

      • (c) the foreperson of the jury has stated in open Court—

        • (i) that there is no probability of the jury reaching a unanimous verdict; and

        • (ii) that the jury has reached a majority verdict; and

      • (d) the Court considers that the jury has had a period of time for deliberation that the Court thinks reasonable, having regard to the nature and complexity of the trial.

      (3) If the case involves 2 or more charges, or 2 or more persons charged, the Court may accept a majority verdict in relation to 1 or some of the charges or persons charged, in which case nothing in this section applies to the other charges or the other persons charged.

      (4) Nothing in this section—

      • (a) prevents the Court from taking a poll of the jury; or

      • (b) affects section 339 of the Crimes Act 1961 (which relates to criminal cases where part of the charge is proved).

      (5) If, in terms of section 339 of the Crimes Act 1961, the crime charged, as described in the enactment creating the crime or as charged in the count, includes the commission of any other crime, the Court may accept a majority verdict on the crime charged instead of a unanimous verdict on the included crime.

    29D Civil cases
    • (1) In this section, majority verdict means, in relation to a jury that, at the time of its verdict, consists of a certain number of jurors, a verdict agreed to by at least three-fourths of them.

      (2) The Court may accept a majority verdict in a civil case if—

      • (a) the jury, having retired to consider its verdict, has deliberated for at least 4 hours; and

      • (b) the jurors have not reached a unanimous verdict; and

      • (c) the foreperson of the jury has stated in open Court—

        • (i) that there is no probability of the jury reaching a unanimous verdict; and

        • (ii) that the jury has reached a majority verdict; and

      • (d) the Court considers that the jury has had a period of time for deliberation that the Court thinks reasonable, having regard to the nature and complexity of the trial.

      (3) Nothing in this section—

      • (a) prevents the Court from taking a poll of the jury; or

      • (b) affects any practice in civil cases by which a Court may, with the consent of all parties, accept a verdict that is not a unanimous verdict.

      Compare: 1908 No 89 s 54A.

    (2) The Crimes Act 1961 is consequentially amended by repealing section 370.

    (3) The Judicature Act 1908 is consequentially amended by repealing section 54A.

    (4) This section applies only to any trial for which a jury is constituted on or after the date on which this section comes into force.