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3.11.1 - Charge: Unanimous and Majority Verdicts

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In almost all criminal cases, a verdict of guilty or not guilty must be unanimous. That is, whatever decision you make, you must all agree on it.

So if, for example, you are to find NOA guilty of [insert charge 1], then you must all agree that [he/she] is guilty of that offence. In exactly the same way, if you are to find NOA not guilty of [insert charge 1], then you must all agree that [he/she] is not guilty of that offence.

However, this requirement does not mean that you must all reach your verdict for the same reasons. Indeed, you may each rely on quite different reasons for making your decision. For example, you may each rely upon different parts of the evidence, or you may each emphasise different aspects of the evidence.

What is important is that, no matter how you reach your verdict, you all agree. Your verdict of guilty or not guilty [in relation to each charge][for each person charged] must be unanimous, the agreed decision of you all.

You may have noted that I said that a verdict must be unanimous in "almost all" criminal cases. There are some circumstances in which a jury is allowed to give a majority verdict instead of a unanimous verdict. However, this is not yet one of those cases and may never be. I will tell you if the situation changes. Until I do, you should consider that your verdict[s] of guilty or not guilty must be unanimous.[1]

[If the case involves alternative bases of responsibility for a particular offence, insert the relevant Additional Charge.]

Notes

[1] This paragraph should be excluded in cases of murder, treason, offences against sections 71 or 72 of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981, or offences against a law of the Commonwealth, as majority verdicts are not permitted in relation to such offences (Juries Act 2000 s46).

Last updated: 17 May 2019

See Also

3.11 - Unanimous Verdicts and Extended Jury Unanimity

3.11.2 - Additional Charge: Materially Different Issues or Consequences

3.11.3 - Additional Charge: No Materially Different Issues or Consequences

3.11.4 - Additional Charge: Multiple Discrete Acts