Juries, juries hallelujah

The Government may find there’s a little spanner in the works in relation to its Fraud (Trials without a Jury) Bill, which is winging its way through Parliament at the moment.

Last week saw a jury, in pretty much record time, get the founder and former chief executive of Independent Insurance Michael Bright locked up for seven years for committing a fraud that cost the Financial Services Authority £357m in compensation.

Andrew Baillie QC of 9 Gough Square, prosecuting, said this extremely complex case shows that juries make decisions effectively in reasonable time, as long as the information provided to them is appropriately presented.

“In some trials you’ll see juries presented with thousands of documents; in this case we managed to reduce it to 1,502 papers by targeting key arguments,” explained Baillie. “It’s this management of evidence that needs to be streamlined, not the juries.”

Baillie believes the public trusts jury trials because, at the end of the day, 12 heads are better than one.