Chapter 3
The existing court process for sexual violence cases


3.61After all the evidence has been given for each side, the fact-finder in the trial will decide whether the prosecution has discharged its burden of proving that the defendant committed the alleged offence to the required standard of “beyond reasonable doubt”. This decision is called the verdict.

3.62Verdicts in a jury trial may be unanimous or by a majority with one juror dissenting.199 The jury does not need to give reasons for its verdict, whereas a judge does (see “Key differences between trial by jury and trial by judge-alone”, below).
3.63Sometimes in a jury trial, the jury is unable to agree (sometimes known as a “hung jury”). A court may discharge a jury where it has remained in deliberation for such period as the judge thinks reasonable (which must not be less than four hours) and where the jury still does not agree on the verdict to be given.200 A new trial will normally follow as a matter of course once a jury has been discharged for failure to agree (see “Retrials”, below). If at the second trial the jury is again unable to agree, the Solicitor-General’s Prosecution Guidelines provide that the case would normally be stayed unless exceptional circumstances apply.201
3.64If the defendant is found guilty, he or she is usually remanded by the judge, whether in custody or on bail, for sentencing, although the CPA 2011 provides that a defendant who pleads or is found guilty may also be sentenced or otherwise dealt with immediately.202 If the defendant is found not guilty, he or she is acquitted of the charge.
199Juries Act 1981, s 29C.
200Criminal Procedure Act 2011, s 22(3)(b).
201Crown Law, above n 137, at [25.3.1].
202Criminal Procedure Act 2011, s 114.