HC Deb 03 December 1973 vol 865 c909
36. Mr. Clinton Davis

asked the Attorney General why a directive was made pursuant to Section 32 of the Courts Act relating to juries on 25th July 1973.

The Attorney-General (Sir Peter Rawlinson)

The direction, the effect of which was to exclude the occupation of a juror from the published panel of jurors, was given because the interests of justice do not require this information to be included and it has sometimes been used in a manner which is inconsistent with those interests.

Mr. Davis

Is it not demonstrably unfair that where a juror's occupation, which is no longer revealed to the defence, might permit him to pre-judge an issue which is before the court the defence is now debarred from ascertaining what is his occupation? In his rôle as defence counsel, has the right hon. and learned Gentleman never challenged a juror on that basis?

The Attorney-General

This information is now denied to both prosecution and defence. What the hon. Gentleman says may equally affect the prosecution. But there have been illustrations recently—as I told the hon. Member for Kensington, North (Mr. Douglas-Mann) in reply to a Question three weeks ago—when, for instance, persons have been challenged in a fraud case, as to make it not really the random selection of a jury. That is not in the interests of justice generally.