Victorian Society for Computers & the Law
Presented by: Dr Karen Gelb
To encourage more informed jury decisions, Australian judges increasingly provide jurors with evidence to take with them into the jury room, often in the form of a DVD with key pieces of evidence. At the same time, the court environment more generally is changing: wireless technology and mobile devices are transforming the way courts administer justice, with the increasing use of tablet computers by practitioners, judges and juries. In the jury room, mobile devices have the potential to simplify the provision and use of information and facilitate more efficient deliberation and decision-making. But before such technology in the jury room can become commonplace, courts need empirical evidence of the impact – positive and negative – of providing this technology to jurors on both efficiency and the right to a fair trial.
This presentation outlines the methodology and key findings from an experimental study of the impact of digital evidence on juror deliberations, undertaken in conjunction with the Victorian Juries Commissioner’s Office. The research tested whether the use of tablet technology to view evidence would make any difference to jury decision-making or deliberative processes.
Dr Karen Gelb is both a Consultant Criminologist and a Research Fellow at Western Sydney University. She is the editor of a book on sentencing councils and the author of more than 30 major research reports and articles including her most recent work for the Royal Commission into Family Violence. Her key areas of expertise are courts, public opinion and sex offenders.