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Thread: Should previous convictions be automatically disclosed in jury trials ?

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    Politics.ie Member cyberianpan's Avatar
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    Default Should previous convictions be automatically disclosed in jury trials ?

    In Ireland and the UK previous convictions needn't be disclosed in a case. In short so long as you enter no evidence as to your (good) character, then the Prosecution can't bring up any (bad) character you have

    Here's a recent case as an example where a man was accused of burning down his house and killing his children. The highly relevant fact that he had attempted to murder a previous partner was left out.

    Mick and Mairead Philpott convicted of manslaughter over Derby house fire | UK news | guardian.co.uk
    Derby fire: Mick Philpott, guilty of killing his children, tried to murder previous girlfriend - Telegraph

    I'm of the view that all previous convictions should be automatically disclosed - you ?

    cYp
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberianpan View Post
    In Ireland and the UK previous convictions needn't be disclosed in a case. In short so long as you enter no evidence as to your (good) character, then the Prosecution can't bring up any (bad) character you have

    Here's a recent case as an example where a man was accused of burning down his house and killing his children. The highly relevant fact that he had attempted to murder a previous partner was left out.

    Mick and Mairead Philpott convicted of manslaughter over Derby house fire | UK news | guardian.co.uk
    Derby fire: Mick Philpott, guilty of killing his children, tried to murder previous girlfriend - Telegraph

    I'm of the view that all previous convictions should be automatically disclosed - you ?

    cYp
    No.

    Each crime should be investigated in its own right.

    The best way to prevent repeat offenders repeating, is to put more resources into deprived areas and to bolster the justive system to ensure crimes are appropriately punished.

    Under your system, we would potentially convict people twice for the same crime - i.e. once when caught, and again when it is mentioned at a future trial for a different offence.
    Last edited by ShoutingIsLeadership; 2nd April 2013 at 07:21 PM. Reason: poor spelling
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    Yes, especially if the defendant is trying to portray themselves as paragons of virtue while having rap sheets as long as a TD's list of expences.
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    Politics.ie Member Magror14's Avatar
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    No. A trial is designed to decide whether a particular crime was committed not whether the accused has previously committed a crime. Knowledge of the previous crime would make the jury biased against the accused who is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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    Politics.ie Member damus's Avatar
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    Yes, and it should also be public information ie, you should be able to do a search to see if someone has any previous criminal convictions.

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    Previous Convictions Should only come out at Sentencing.

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    Politics.ie Member Hewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberianpan View Post
    In Ireland and the UK previous convictions needn't be disclosed in a case. In short so long as you enter no evidence as to your (good) character, then the Prosecution can't bring up any (bad) character you have

    Here's a recent case as an example where a man was accused of burning down his house and killing his children. The highly relevant fact that he had attempted to murder a previous partner was left out.

    Mick and Mairead Philpott convicted of manslaughter over Derby house fire | UK news | guardian.co.uk
    Derby fire: Mick Philpott, guilty of killing his children, tried to murder previous girlfriend - Telegraph

    I'm of the view that all previous convictions should be automatically disclosed - you ?

    cYp
    My heart says a resounding 'yes', but my head says no, and there have been trials when a defendant has walked and his previous history has been revealed.

    A trial is about deciding on guilt or innocence of the charge as presented and should be based on the evidence for or against.

    Should we use a person's sexual history to discredit them during a rape trial?
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    Politics.ie Member Asparagus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShoutingIsLeadership View Post
    No.

    Each crime should be investigated in its own right.

    The best way to prevent repeat offenders repeating, is to put more resources into deprived areas and to bolster the justive system to ensure criems are appropriately punished.

    Under your system, we would potentially convict people twice for the same crime - i.e. once when caught, and again when it is mentioned at a future trial for a different offence.
    Then character references should be excluded too.

    Lets pour more money into deprived areas? Are u off your head? A/ we have no money b/ it gets p!ssd away in deprived areas. C/ have you any idea how much we lose to ineffective crime punishment and even more ineffective crime prevention.

    Lets spend less, fine more, make incarceration harder and decency rewarded.
    Game mechanics.

    And print your conviction record, it's very relevant.
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    Politics.ie Member NewGoldDream's Avatar
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    Absolutely not. It would be madness. It goes against common sense and every concept of justice, one cannot give a dog a bad name and hang it, each case has to be judged on its merits. The rule has a number of well established exceptions, so it is far from universal. And it is subjected to valid criticism and there have been numerous challenges and papers on it. But as a principle it is very sound.

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    Politics.ie Member damus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asparagus View Post
    Then character references should be excluded too.

    Lets pour more money into deprived areas? Are u off your head? A/ we have no money b/ it gets p!ssd away in deprived areas. C/ have you any idea how much we lose to ineffective crime punishment and even more ineffective crime prevention.

    Lets spend less, fine more, make incarceration harder and decency rewarded.
    Game mechanics.

    And print your conviction record, it's very relevant.
    There's already a load of money that gets pumped in to disadvantaged areas under the RAPID programme.

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