Jim McGinty

Jim McGinty

Attorney General; Minister for Health; Electoral Affairs

    $40,000 jury duty campaign for Kimberley

    14/04/2008 12:00 AM

    Kimberley residents will be given an insight into the importance of jury duty, with the roll-out of a $40,000 local education campaign.


    Attorney General Jim McGinty said juries represented the values of the community as a whole and ensured the justice system operated in a fair and balanced way.


    “I’m very concerned by the number of people not turning up for jury duty because, like voting, jury service is important and the responsibility of all community members,” Mr McGinty said.


    “In 2007, only 14 per cent of people summoned as jurors turned up to court in Broome, while in Kununurra the figure was 19 per cent.


    “Trial by jury is a fundamental right of every citizen and jurors play an important role in the criminal justice system.


    “While many people have legitimate work-related excuses for not being able to serve as jurors, these figures are too high and employers have to recognise the importance of allowing their workers to perform jury duty.


    “To have a balanced jury, you need a cross-section of the community, not just retired or unemployed people.


    “If the jury participation rate doesn’t improve, the Government may have to consider abolishing some of the current exemptions.”


    Mr McGinty said the ‘Be Part of the Balance’ campaign had been running in the Pilbara, Mid-West and Goldfields regions since late last year.


    “While there have not yet been enough jury trials in these regions for a full evaluation, early indications show there has been a positive impact on the number of people responding to the summons to be a juror in these areas,” he said.


    “The ‘Be Part of the Balance’ campaign aims to raise awareness of this civic responsibility, as well as to educate people on how the system works.”


    The Kimberley campaign will include newspaper and radio advertising including indigenous radio and in business, trade and industry publications, an educational DVD and direct mail to residents.


    Posters and brochures will also be sent to peak employer organisations requesting their support, including the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Government departments, unions and mining companies.


    The campaign focuses on the need for individuals to participate in the jury process, informing people about jurors’ entitlements such as reimbursement for loss of income, and educating the community on the consequences of not responding to a juror summons.


    Jurors who do not show up for jury duty can face fines which are imposed at the discretion of the court.


    Attorney General's  office - 9422 3000