Brittany Higgins says Lehrmann raped her.
On the fifth day of deliberations, the judge in the trial of Bruce Lehrmann, who is accused of raping Brittany Higgins, gave the jury a message.
In the trial of the man accused of raping Brittany Higgins in Parliament House, the jury has told the judge that they can’t decide what to do.
After the jury sent a new note to ACT Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucy McCallum around 3 p.m. today, the court met again.
“You wrote me that you can’t come to a decision as a group,” she told the jury.
Chief Justice McCallum said that juries “often come to a decision if they have more time.”
She told the jury to go back out and keep talking to see if they can come to a decision that everyone agrees on.
The man who is accused of raping Ms at Parliament House has been in court for four full days.
So far, the group has not decided whether or not Bruce Lehrmann is guilty of one count of sexual intercourse without consent with Ms. Higgins.
He has said that he is not guilty.
The jury, which has eight women and four men, has been thinking about what to do since Wednesday afternoon.
The jury told ACT Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucy McCallum that they needed more time, so the court met again yesterday at 10 a.m.
The note, which was read out loud in court, said, “We have not yet reached an agreement that leaves no doubt.”
Chief Justice McCallum said that the jurors had asked for “a little more time” to finish their work.
In her answer, the Judge told the jury that there was “no time limit” and that they should “take as much time as you need.”
She said that she had been on juries that talked for a lot longer than this one had.
“There’s no hurry, and there’s no deadline,” she said, adding that the jurors should keep their promise to give a “true verdict based on the evidence.”
“Relax, stay as calm as you can, and take as much time as you need,” they were told as they went back into the room where they had been meeting.
Before the jury made its decision, the trial went on for two and a half weeks. During that time, police interviews, CCTV footage from inside Parliament House, and different email and text message exchanges were shown in court as proof.
Ms. Higgins gave her testimony and was questioned by the other side for four days. Other well-known people, like Senator Linda Reynolds and Michaelia Cash, also took the witness stand.
What is nullification by a jury?
In the strictest sense, jury nullification is when a jury decides that a defendant is not guilty, even though the jurors are sure that the defendant broke the law. Because the verdict of “Not Guilty” can’t be changed and the jurors can’t be punished for it, the law in that case is said to be “nullified.”
Some jurors, or even just one in most cases, can hang the jury by giving a Not Guilty verdict even though they think the defendant broke the law. This is a milder form of jury nullification. There is no rule that says jurors must all agree on the same verdict. A “hung jury” is when the people on the jury can’t agree on whether the person is guilty or not guilty. When it’s clear that more talking won’t help, the judge will call a mistrial. The prosecution may or may not try the case again in the future, but in this trial, the law has been thrown out.
Paul Butler, who used to be a prosecutor and now teaches law at Georgetown University Law Center, has called a different version of this theme “jury nullification 2.0.” He used this term to talk about the case of Touray Cornell, a man from Missoula, Montana, who was charged with having 1/16 of an ounce of marijuana in a county where a citizen initiative told law enforcement to give the least amount of attention to marijuana enforcement. During voir dire, 27 possible jurors were asked if they would vote to convict someone for having such a small amount of marijuana. Only five said they would. The judge in the case didn’t think it would be possible to get a jury, so he called a break. During the break, the lawyers came up with a deal called a “Alford plea,” in which the defendant didn’t admit guilt.
When enough people don’t want laws to be enforced in this way, the laws stop being able to be enforced. We’ve seen how rejecting laws like the Fugitive Slave Laws and the ban on alcohol makes it harder to enforce those laws. At some point, it won’t be worth the government’s time, trouble, or embarrassment to try to enforce these laws. They could be made even less important if they stay on the books but aren’t enforced or if they are thrown out completely.
Jury nullification is another name for when a jury convicts a person of a capital crime and finds that all the conditions for the death penalty have been met, but instead of giving the person the death penalty, they give them a sentence of life without parole.
You might also hear the words “conscientious acquittal,” “juror veto,” or “jury pardon” instead of “jury nullification.”