8 Jun 2009

Law Commission won't investigate jury behaviour

9:13 pm on 8 June 2009

The Law Commission has no plans to investigate jury behaviour after a trial.

There are calls for a review of the way jurors are prepared for high-profile cases in light of the way some jurors behaved following the David Bain retrial.

One juror was seen giving Mr Bain a hug as he left the High Court in Christchurch on Friday after being acquitted of murdering his family in 1994.

Two jury members were spotted at an after-trial party for supporters.

The Law Society's criminal law committee says it may be time for the Law Commission to look at the rules governing the behaviour of juries.

But Law Commission deputy president Warren Young says it would be hard to develop rules to combat such behaviour.

Justice Minister Simon Power declined to comment.


Meanwhile, there has been a call for juries to be given the power to determine a person's eligibility for compensation.

Mr Bain's legal team will begin the process of applying for compensation under Cabinet guidelines for the time he spent in prison.

In 2006, Rex Haig had his murder conviction quashed, but was earlier this year denied redress for the decade he spent in prison.

He filed a compensation claim for wrongful conviction and imprisonment.

But the Government turned that down, saying a Queen's Council has to be satisfied that, on the balance of probabilities, the person is innocent of the crime.

Mr Haig says Mr Bain's eligibility for compensation should be determined by the jury that acquitted him.