Jurors' addresses will be kept more tightly guarded after a law change last night.
The Government was prompted to update the Juries Amendment Bill after convicted murderer George Baker wrote to a woman on the jury that found him guilty of kidnapping.
He was able to she her name on a list as he represented himself in the trial.
The Juries (Jury Service and Protection of Particulars of Jury List Information) Amendment Bill passed its third reading in Parliament last night.
Justice Minister Judith Collins said the changes protected the safety of jurors and streamlined the jury system.
As well as tighten access to jurors' information, the bill allows people to be permanently excused from jury duty for disability or health reasons.
It also allows over 65-year-olds to request a permanent excusal.
"These changes will allow for a more efficient, less troublesome process both for people seeking to be excused and for court staff," Collins said.
She said jury service was an important civic duty and those summoned must feel safe and the process should be flexible.
Other changes also restrict those who have been sentenced to home detention for more than three months in the past five years from serving on a jury, those on a shorter home detention stint will be excused if summoned while still serving the sentence.
The bill passed unanimously in Parliament last night.
Labour MP Phil Goff said his party supported the bill because it did some useful things.
But it was not going to "shake the world".
Goff said more and more people were representing themselves in court because of cuts to legal aid.
It was not a good idea, but made the changes to the security of jurors' information necessary.
Situations such as that which occurred with Baker "cannot be tolerated."
"This bill makes an effort to try and improve the privacy of the jurors by ensuring that a defendant that is representing him or herself doesn't have access to the particulars of the juror list."
However, it did not apply a "great deal of imagination" to how to stop accused looking jurors up in the phone book or internet, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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