diamond geezer

 Friday, June 27, 2003

My fortnight of jury service is over.

This second week was particularly unimpressive. They didn't need me on Monday, but I had to ring back on Monday afternoon to see if they wanted me in on Tuesday. They didn't need me on Tuesday, but I had to ring back on Tuesday afternoon to see if they wanted me in on Wednesday. They did need me in on Wednesday, so I turned up at 10am, sat around and started my book, eventually got allocated to a trial, sat around and continued my book, ate an identical lunch from an identical menu to last Wednesday, sat around again and finished my book, then finally got called to the jury bailiff's office just before 3pm to be told that the case had collapsed and we could all go home. But they wanted me in on Thursday. When I got home they rang me up and said no they didn't want me in on Thursday after all and I was now discharged from jury service. So I had to go back to work on Thursday, having not seen the inside of a courtroom since last Thursday. I was not impressed.

Supposed length of jury service: 10 working days
Actual length: 8 days
Days required to attend court: 5 days
Number of days spent at least partly in a courtroom: 3 days
Number of trials attended: 1
Number of interesting trials attended: 0
Total amount of time spent in court: 3 hours
Shortest amount of time spent in court in one day: 12 minutes
Total amount of time spent deliberating in jury room: 4 hours
Number of books read whilst sat around waiting for nothing to happen: 3
My value to society over the last fortnight: minimal

Some tips for future jurors:
• Don't get excited, you probably won't get the John Leslie case, or the human cannibal case, or indeed any juicy case at all.
• You may be sat around for some time. Take lots of reading material. Remember, a tabloid newspaper won't keep you occupied even a quarter of the way to lunch.
• Male jurors tend to turn up wearing shirts, while many women go for something safe and M&S. You can wear a t-shirt, or a posh suit, but don't think the judge will let you get away with shorts and sandals.
• Don't be late. They can't start the trial with a jury of just 11 so you'll be holding up the entire legal system. It's OK for the legal system to keep you waiting around for hours, of course, but don't you dare do it to them.
• The lunchtime food is very poor value for money. Your £4.60 daily subsistence allocation goes absolutely nowhere. But, hey, where else are you going to eat?
• Should you ever find yourself arrested for a heinous crime after you've done jury service, at least you'll know how the system works.
• The key word concerning jury service is 'random'. You have been chosen at random from the electoral roll. You will be allocated to a random trial of random length and random importance, which may or may not get as far as needing a jury. You may, or may not, get to sit on more than one trial. You may not even get to sit on a trial at all. Your fellow potential jurors will be chosen at random from the pool available, and then slimmed down to just 12 in court, again at random. When the jury finally gets to retire to ponder its verdict, 12 random viewpoints on life, truth and justice will be brought together, with random effect. Justice is, you'll discover, random.
• Don't get excited. But I bet you get to be more excited than I was.


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