Supreme Court Jury Safety Plan
The Supreme Court of the Northern Territory has created a Jury Safety Plan outlining measures put in place in light of the COVID-19 situation.
20 January, 2022
- JURY PANEL ATTENDANCE AND THE MUSTER ROOM
- JURY ROOMS
1.1 Sheriff’s Officers will be stationed at the entrance of the Courts in Darwin and Alice Springs on jury empanelment days to make a visual assessment for symptoms of attendees entering the building (this is not an expert or medical assessment). Any panel member who is displaying symptoms will be directed to leave the Court immediately and to contact the Registry as soon as practicable thereafter for further instructions in relation to attendance for jury duty.
1.2 On the day of empanelment all panel members will have their temperature screened by a Sheriff’s Officer using a contactless thermometer at the time of Muster. If a panel member registers a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or higher they will be directed to leave the Court immediately and to contact the Registry as soon as practicable thereafter for further instructions in relation to attendance for jury duty.
1.3 Once a jury is empanelled, the jury members will have their temperature screened by a Sheriff’s Officer using a contactless thermometer at the commencement of each sitting day. If a juror registers a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or higher they will be isolated from other jurors and the matter will be reported to the Presiding Judge who will determine the appropriate action to take.
1.4 Cleaners will be engaged during each Jury Muster to clean the Registry and Sheriff’s Office counters, and the Jury Muster Rooms during breaks.
1.5 Additional security guards will be rostered on to ensure that panel members observe physical distancing when waiting at and proceeding through the scanning point. Physical distancing signage will be placed near the scanning point, at the entrance to the Jury Muster Rooms and inside the Jury Muster Rooms.
1.6 The Jury Muster Room in Darwin is 80 m². Chairs have been removed from the Muster Room and other seating reconfigured to comply with social distancing requirements. No more than one jury panel shall be in the Jury Muster Room at any time. If a second Jury Muster is to take place it will be conducted inside Court 1, 2 or 3, depending upon availability.
1.7 In Alice Springs, the Jury Muster will be conducted in Court 1 prior to the commencement of the regular list at 10am so as to avoid contact with other court users. Panel members will be instructed to ensure that there is a vacant seat left between each panel member during the conduct of the Muster.
1.8 The maximum amount of continuous time spent in the Jury Muster Rooms will be two (2) hours.
1.9 Hand sanitiser will be available in all of the Courts and inside the Jury Muster Rooms.
1.10 The Jury Muster Rooms shall be cleaned at the end of each day.
1.11 Unvaccinated people will be excused from jury service.
2.1 If the Presiding Judge considers it necessary to provide an alternative jury deliberating room, in Darwin that will be accommodated in either the boardroom on Level 3, the Federal Circuit Court mediation suite (if available), Court 11 or the Jury Muster Room. In Alice Springs that will be accommodated in Court 2.
2.2 Jury room cleanliness and other matters
- Jurors will only be in jury deliberation rooms for a maximum of two (2) continuous hours without a break of at least 15 minutes.
- Hand sanitiser will be available in all jury deliberation rooms.
- All jugs and glasses have been removed from the jury deliberation rooms and replaced by disposable cups and bottled water.
- Physical distancing signage will be placed into jury rooms.
- Jury deliberation rooms including bathrooms will be cleaned twice a day – once during the luncheon break when all jurors will be asked to leave for that purpose and again at the end of the day.
- Plastic gloves will be provided in jury deliberation rooms for handling of exhibits.
- Jurors will only be given individual meals with no shared platters.
3. JURY MOVEMENT
3.1 Only those jurors with a physical disability will be permitted to use lifts and all other jurors will be escorted at all times by Sheriff’s Officers.
4. THE JURY BOX
4.1 The Northern Territory Chief Health Officer has advised that the configuration of the jury boxes and the volume of airspace inside the court rooms is adequate for the protection of public safety.
Dated: 20 January 2022