Queensland's Attorney-General says he will consider the Chief Justice's call for an overhaul of the state's criminal justice laws.

In a controversial speech to a Queensland Law Society Symposium in Brisbane, Chief Justice Paul de Jersey said he could not see any reason why juries should not hear the relevant criminal histories of defendants.

He also said lawyers should file their defence plans ahead of trials.

"Then there'd be fewer trials because all the cards would be laid on the table and the defence would be able to make their own assessments about the prospects of conviction or acquittal," he said.

He said he did not believe it would erode the ability of the accused to get a fair trial.

"I believe that jurors are wise people, intelligent people, who are in tune with community expectations and who can be relied upon to follow the direction of the judge as to what is relevant and how various factors meld together in the process of assessment," he said.

"Why, if a person is on trial for rape, can't the jury be told this person committed a rape six months before?"

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie told the conference he supports the Chief Justice in having the views and would consider the proposals.

However, defence lawyer Peter Shields says Chief Justice de Jersey's position is inconsistent with the fundamental nature of criminal trials.

"An accused is presumed innocent until a jury is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt of their guilt," Mr Shields said.

Before the speech, Gold Coast defence lawyer Bill Potts said he disagreed with Chief Justice de Jersey's call to reveal criminal histories of defendants.

Mr Potts says juries should be focused on the facts before the court, instead of being encouraged to form prejudicial views about a defendant's past.

"Do we really want juries to be told about someone's previous history?" he said.

"Because they stop deciding then on the evidence produced in court and start effectively deciding on the basis of past behaviour, without necessarily knowing what that past behaviour was about, the details of it and the like."

 

Advertisement