Question Under British and Australian law the jury in a criminal case has no access to information about the defendant past criminal record. This protects the person who is being accused of the crime.
Some lawyers have suggested that this practice should be changed and that a jury should be given all the past facts before they reach their decision about the case.
Do you agree or disagree? Give reasons for your answer.
The decisions made by juries, since can interfere with a person's future, as defendant can be very challenging. Like all jobs, which try to discover the truth about an event the discoverer need enough body of evidence to do deliberately research and find the truth. In law field the main role of jury could be as a researcher who need more evidences, which could be for or against convicting a defender. I believe, against the British and Australian law, a jury should have access in the defendant's past records, which can give them a wider view about the defendant character and help them to make a better decision.
In one hand, a criminal cannot become an outlaw person overnight. There are some factors in the persons' life that can influence their behaviour. By knowing those factors a jury can decide better if that person can be culprit or not. For example, if the jury be informed that the suspect is a brilliant person with prominent academic background, the odds to be a shoplifter can be very low.
In other hand, the past criminal record of a person can help the juries to better match evidences for convicting a defendant. I believe a criminal do not commit a crime once, and try to repeat in different circumstances the crime which are talented for. If a person is convicted in a sex crime for several times, the chance to do the same crime for one more time is not too low.
To put in a nutshell, I believe the restriction of access in criminal records of defendants which is practiced in some countries law system can limited the ability of the juries to make a right decision. The back ground and the environment that persons were grown up can influence their future and help juries better to elaborate some verdicts. Furthermore, the antecedent of persons can be a tool for guessing if the person commits the crime or not.