Jury trials to recommence in Auckland today

“Careful preparations have been taken by the Ministry of Justice to ensure high levels of protection are in place for jurors,” said the chief justice

Jury trials to recommence in Auckland today

Jury trials are set to recommence at the Auckland High Court, Auckland District Court and Manukau District Court today.

Chief Justice Dame Helen Winkelmann said in a media release on Thursday that the decision was precipitated by the judiciary’s review of juror health and safety arrangements, which was conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice.

“Careful preparations have been taken by the Ministry of Justice to ensure high levels of protection are in place for jurors,” Winkelmann said.

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She said that members of the legal profession had provided their recommendations on the arrangements that were implemented in the three courts, which included the installation of Perspex screens within the jury box. Those in court would also be supplied with gloves, hand sanitiser and masks in line with the request that attendees at Auckland courtrooms be masked.

Physical distancing measures in accordance with alert level 2 guidelines have also been put in place.

Winkelmann called for jurors in the region to attend the trials to which they have been summoned, highlighting the successful resumption of jury trials across the rest of the country last month.

“Due to the commitment of all those participating, jury trials have been able to run successfully in both the District Court and High Court outside of Auckland under alert level 2 conditions,” she said.

Winkelmann stressed the important role jurors play in proceedings.

“Jurors should have confidence in answering their jury summons and it is important they do so. Jurors make a vital contribution to the delivery of justice in their communities. Jury service is a demonstration of commitment to those communities as we all adapt to the challenges of COVID-19,” she said.

Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern said on Friday that Auckland will remain under alert level 2 with additional restrictions until the COVID-19 situation is reviewed again on 14 September.

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