Expertise comes from experience

Our team in act in criminal jury trials in District Courts and High Courts across New Zealand.

Jury trials are an essential part of the New Zealand criminal justice system, allowing a jury of twelve peers to decide guilt or innocence rather than a Judge. All charges carrying a maximum penalty of 2 or more years imprisonment carry the right to a jury trial, very serious charges such as Murder must be heard before a jury.

Shane has been instructed to act as counsel in murder trials in Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Palmerston North and Christchurch.

Recent jury trials Shane and his team have been involved in have included some of the most complicated legal issues and facts before a New Zealand Court.

Shane’s past clients have successfully been acquitted/ found not guilty of charges including Murder, Manslaughter, Wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, Kidnapping, Rape, Importing Methamphetamine and Supplying Methamphetamine.

The jury trial experts at SHANE TAIT-BARRISTER can provide that passion and skill. Call us on 09 263 0453 09 308 9446 to get in touch

Our legal system

Our legal system functions under certain rules. One of those rules is that our system is an accusatory system: those that accuse must prove. The accusatory system means that we never have that simplistic situation where someone must prove their innocence.

Historically and by design, we as a society have chosen that if our legal system is going to go wrong it is better that no innocent person be convicted. Our system is designed to protect the innocent man. The benefit of the doubt must go to the accused.

One aspect of this is the presumption of innocence. An accused is presumed innocent until guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution. The presumption of innocence is a principal of which we as a society can be proud. Our society and its freedoms are built on the back of the legal system that has that principle as its foundation.

Beyond Reasonable Doubt

Beyond Reasonable Doubt is the standard of proof that the prosecution must meet in criminal cases. It is the highest standard known to the law and it makes sense that this standard is applied in criminal trials. It is a serious business to decide the guilt or innocence of a man. This standard ensures that innocents are not found guilty.

BRD can be distinguished from the other legal standard, the balance of probabilities. This is the standard in civil cases. In those cases 51 %, more likely than not is enough.

In a criminal trial, much more is required. Possibly guilty, probably guilty is not enough. Proof beyond reasonable doubt is required. If a jury thinks that there is even a possibility that someone is innocent then they must acquit.

The position of the accused

Despite these fundamental protections, someone accused of committing a crime is in a very difficult position. Make no mistake, police are determined to secure a conviction and imprisonment in almost all of these cases.

What needs to be done?

There are many parts of a criminal jury trial and many essential roles that the team involved must play in preparing for your case.

The successful preparation of your case will include;

  • obtaining your instructions,
  • receiving the disclosure or evidence,
  • identifying the a strategy or strategies,
  • researching the legal issues,
  • preparing the cross examination,
  • explaining the process to you,
  • arguing in your favour.

Shane Tait – Barrister – expert criminal defence lawyer

You need jury trial experts on your side. Too much is at stake.

Criminal cases can be successfully defended but they are complex, intricate and stressful matters. You need the best possible legal team on your side. In so many ways, your life is at stake. Contact us today.


10 things you SHOULD NOT DO!!

No one ever plans plans to be arrested, but it might help to think just once about what you will do and not do if you ever hear the phrase “You’re under arrest. Put your hands behind you.”

The simplest “to do” rule is to do what you are told. Simple, but somehow it often escapes someone who is either scared or intoxicated.

More important to guarding your rights and interests are ten things you SHOULD NOT do:

  1. Don’t try to convince the officer of your innocence. It’s useless. He or she only needs “reasonable grounds” to suspect you have committed a crime in order to arrest you. He does not decide your guilt and he actually doesn’t care if you are innocent or not. It is the job of the judge or jury to free you if he is wrong. If you feel that urge to convince him he’s made a mistake, remember the overwhelming probability that instead you will say at least one thing that will hurt your case, perhaps even fatally. It is smarter to save your defence for your lawyer.
  2. Don’t run. It’s highly unlikely you could out run the police.
  3. KEEP QUIET!!!. The hardest cases to defend are those where the suspect got very talkative. Incredibly, many will start babbling without the police having asked a single question. Judges and juries will discount or ignore what a suspect says that helps him, but give great weight to anything that seems to hurt him. In 20 years of criminal practice, I could count on one hand the number of times a suspect was released because of what he told the police after they arrested him.

Don’t give permission to search anywhere. If they ask, it probably means they don’t believe they have the right to search and need your consent. The police have limited powers of search. This is also a good reason not to talk, even if it seems all is lost when they find something incriminating.

If the police are searching your car or home, don’t look at the places you wish they wouldn’t search. Don’t react to the search at all, and especially not to questions like “Who does this belong to?”

DON’T RESIST ARREST. Above all, do not push the police or try to push their hands away. That would be assaulting an officer and any slight injury to them will turn your minor offence into something more serious. Obviously, striking an officer can result in serious injury to you as well.

Try to resist the temptation to argue with the police, even if you have been wrongly arrested. Police have a lot of discretion in what charges are brought.

Do not believe what the police tell you in order to get you to talk. The police will try anything to get you to ‘talk’. They will try and mislead and say things they can’t necessarily prove in order to get an admission. For example, if you are arrested with someone else for the same offence, they will try and suggest the other person has implicated you in order for you to admit as well. The police will also try and convince you to go ahead with the interview in the absence of your lawyer as it will delay your release, or ‘it will go easier for you in court’ if you ‘talk’. ALWAYS EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO A LAWYER.

If at home, do not invite the police into your home as this gives them the power to search. If the police have a warrant, do not obstruct them. If an offence has recently been committed and the police have reasonable grounds to suspect you are involved, they can arrest you and search your home or the parts of the home you occupy if in shared accommodation.
  10. If you are arrested outside your home, the police have powers of search at your home address in continuance of their investigation.

That’s it: Ten simple rules that will leave as many of your rights intact as possible if you are arrested.