Concerns of both Government and Opposition Senators this afternoon resulted in debate on a bill intended to amend the Jury Act being postponed until next week.
Objections were raised to a proposal to reduce the number of pre-emptory juror challenges available to prosecutors and defence attorneys before the start of a trial from seven to four.
A preemptory challenge is an objection raised to a proposed juror serving on the panel. Prosecutors or defence attorneys are not required to give reasons for their objection.
Concerns were also raised regarding a clause in the Jury Act amendment bill which proposes to reduce the number of jurors required to begin a non-capital murder trial from twelve to seven.
The bill also proposes to reduce from seven to four the number of preemptory challenges to potential jurors which are available to prosecutors and defence attorneys.
Government Senator, KD Knight, disagreed with the proposed amendments.
According to Senator Knight, given that Tax Registration Numbers are now being used to identify jurors there’s no need for the reduction in the amount of jurors required to begin a non-capital murder trial.
Opposition Senator, Arthur Williams, also registered his concern.
Earlier, Justice Minister, Senator Mark Golding, gave a general outline of what the proposed amendments to the Jury Act are intended to achieve.