Chapter 6
The fact-finder in sexual violence cases


6.1This chapter considers whether trial by jury should continue to be the model of fact-finding in sexual violence cases and, if there are justifiable reasons for moving away from that model, what it could be replaced with.

6.2Most sexual violence cases are tried by jury, on the election of the defendant. The right to be tried by jury for any criminal case carrying a penalty of more than two years’ imprisonment is guaranteed by the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (NZBORA 1990). Trial by jury may also be conceived of as a fundamental feature of our adversarial criminal justice system. Any proposal to limit the right to trial by jury for a specific class of criminal cases needs careful consideration.