Jeremy Gans

Jul 15, 2020

The Ouija Board Jurors

Mystery, Mischief and Misery in the Jury System

Waterside Press 2017

Juries are a cornerstone of the criminal trial, but what happens when the jury engages in its own kind of mischief? In this book, Jeremy Gans delves into the case of R v Young, where a newly married couple was murdered in cold blood. At trial, some jurors turned to a Ouija board for guidance. One of the appeal judges, Sir Ronald Waterhouse described the case as ‘the most bizarre appeal that I sat on… The whole episode had the flavour of a television play rather than a real-life (and very grave) criminal trial.’ These seemingly salacious details conceal deeper issues encountered by jurors, and the criminal justice system at large. What are the ramifications of requiring twelve lay people to bear the burden of decision making in the criminal process? How can we, and should be trust juror deliberations? What should be the consequences if things go wrong? In The Ouija Board Jurors: Mystery, Mischief and Misery in the Jury System (Waterside Press, 2017), Gans considers these, and other issues which challenge the modern day criminal trial. He asks for compassion for jurors, but restores faith in the system and the institution. While being an informative text on the criminal law and its processes, it is also a gripping read that will leave you wanting to know more.

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Jane Richards is a doctoral student at the University of Hong Kong. You can find her on twitter where she follows all things related to human rights and Hong Kong politics @JaneRichardsHK

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