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Jury Nullification | 18 Sep 2012

New Zealander’s Plea for Not Guilty Verdict Fails


While jury nullification was recently exercised to deliver justice to a peaceful defendant in New Hampshire, jurors in New Zealand declined to use it to acquit a man charged with four victimless offenses.

Plea for Not Guilty Verdict Fails

Despite an impassioned plea from a Levin man facing drugs charges, it took a jury little more than two hours to find him guilty on all counts.

William Duffield McKee, known as Billy, was on trial in Palmerston North District Court this week facing four charges of selling small quantities of cannabis to an undercover policeman, and one of cultivating the drug.

Representing himself, McKee made a plea to the jury to find him not guilty as a means of pushing for a law change.

Several times he was stopped by Judge Barbara Morris when he tried to talk about the benefits of medicinal cannabis use, with the judge reminding him he could talk only about the evidence.

Outside court, he told the Manawatu Standard he was disappointed with the outcome.

McKee said some laws had been changed through juries returning not guilty verdicts and he had hoped that would be the case in this trial.

“We wanted to have a jury trial because we were trying to make the jury aware of their rights of nullification, where if they think a law is unjust they’ve got a right and obligation to [acquit].”

Click through for the entire article. We remind everyone that the right to consult one’s conscience and the responsibility to deliver a just verdict when serving as a juror does not depend on being in a particular geographical location or legal jurisdiction.