By David Tait and Meredith Rossner
Jurors used commonsense knowledge – wisdom grounded in their life experiences – to interpret and make sense of the evidence at the trial. When jurors came up with their own theories about what happened, these were subjected to a process of careful testing by fellow jurors.
This chapter looks at what members of a mock jury in a terrorism trial, ‘the Sydney Bomber Case’, said to each other in their deliberations and how they worked together. They used four strategies to make fragmentary pieces of evidence coherent:
- Using frameworks drawn from everyday experiences (such as train travel)
- Both general knowledge (e.g. about suburbs) and specialist knowledge (e.g. supplied information about terrorist operations)
- General knowledge about terrorists gleaned from current affairs
- Imagining a real trial and comparing it with the mock trial.
These qualitative research findings shed light on the internal workings of juries, particularly in terrorism trials.
This chapter is useful for:
- Students, teachers, researchers – in Law, Psychology and Communications
- Practitioners of law and criminal justice
- Forensic scientists and psychologists
- Police, national security officers and court officials
This chapter is in the book Juries, Science and Popular Culture in the Age of Terror
Another chapter on jury deliberation is a valuable companion to this one.
Other chapters from Juries, Science and Popular Culture in the Age of Terror that provide research insights arising from the ‘the Sydney Bomber Case’ are: