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The family of a 14-year-old boy who was stabbed to death in a racially aggravated attack have called for greater diversity on juries, after his killer was cleared of murder.
Diversity on Juries
If you need a criminal defence lawyer, please contact us at Ashmans Solicitors. We are members of the Legal Aid scheme and offer free police station representation. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The case of Dea-John Reid
In May 2021, 14-year-old Dea-John Reid was chased through the streets of Birmingham, racially abused and stabbed to death during broad daylight. The prosecution said that Reid, who was black, had been “hunted down” by a group of white youths and adults.
The jury found the 15-year-old boy who stabbed him guilty of manslaughter, not murder. Reid’s family have criticised the decision, saying it is unacceptable that only one of the jurors in a racially aggravated case was from an ethnically diverse background.
In an interview with ITV News, Reid’s mother Joan Morris said: “You see a person have a knife like that chasing down someone and you say that is manslaughter? It seems like Dea-John’s life didn’t matter to none of them. He was black. That’s why Dea-John’s life doesn’t matter”.
Do juries have to be ethnically diverse?
In England and Wales, there is nothing in the law that says juries must consist of a diverse range of people, whether that be diversity of race, sex, religion or any other characteristic. Instead, names are selected at random from a pool of individuals who have been called for jury service. The first 12 will serve on the jury, unless there is a good reason for objection, such as a personal connection to someone in the case.
Will the law change?
Dea-John Reid’s family have called for new laws to improve diversity on juries, but it seems unlikely that the jury system will be reformed in the near-future. This is despite research that suggests diverse juries are less likely to presume the defendant’s guilt than members of all-white juries, and are more thorough in their evaluation of evidence. These findings were concluded by psychological Samuel Sommers, who conducted a mock jury experiment using groups of all-white groups and diverse groups.
Juries & Diversity
Jury selection is something we pay close attention to as criminal defence lawyers. If your case goes to trial and we believe a member of the jury could hold a biased view against you, we will be sure to raise an objection.
If you are looking for a defence lawyer, contact us now for a free, confidential discussion. We are members of the Legal Aid scheme.
Call us on 0333 009 6275. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.