Being a juror, not just called to court but one of the chosen 15, that has to note the evidence and make some sense of it. There is a natural reluctance to be one of the chosen 15, as evidenced by the reactions to being chosen and not being chosen. so there you are chosen, huckled, no escape apart from a serious ailment with a doctors note, or a pre-booked holiday of a lifetime. Both these cards were played during the currency of the trial and 15 became 13. Still a majority verdict had to be 8, hmm.. the law is not mathematical then, nor is it immediately comprehensible, or on further explanation. Being in court and part of the jury is not like any other circumstance you will have met in daily life, (unless you're a ned) you have to listen and note your comments on what you hear, this results in much listening and note taking, you are only interacting at that level, if you spontaneously speak as one of us did, then the Sheriff has cause to interrupt the proceedings and explain very nicely and firmly that however much you feel that you can interact during proceedings, you cannot. Nor can you discuss the evidence on retiral to the jury room, or on resuming your "normal life". this to me was an issue as I had 32 pages of notes and could not discuss the evidence incrementally as the discourse evolved. We had to wait to the end of proceedings, always leaving our notes in the jury room, then resume and make sense of witnesses that were unreliable (in part) had an agenda (well all did) and try to discover where the truth was, (long gone.) Quite obviously the truth had, lets say been modified, from all witnesses, perhaps? In this case witnesses had deliberately changed statements made to police at the time or soon after to a 180 degree position, a U turn, made some days after. Hmm.. makes you wonder, worse, makes you concerned about what statement to use as "proper evidence". Back in the Jury room in deliberation, a critical component, is the appointment of a spokesperson. Well let's tell its like it is, a foreman. Our foreman was a woman, (three voted to occupy the position) from the 13 remaining, my choice was chosen, a focused, inclusive woman who had demonstrated, to me at least, people skills. Still it was not easy, we vacillated, conjectured, speculated, considered our notes continuously and treated the whole thing with complete respect and seriousness, in most part! The wee lass next to me with a name like an Italian wine could not look at the accused. You can deduce the verdict from that, I however was sure of the decision given the evidence, so hell mend, but the evidence was difficult to assimilate into a coherent whole, no forensic, all photos, part police statements and witness statements. Why are nightclubs not made to have a duty of care for patrons inside and outside within a perimeter defined? this would I am sure have the result of outside lighting and CCTV cameras. In essence this case above would with CCTV camera evidence; have been shorter, or the accused would have plead guilty or the case would never have been brought to court. Plus had some of the local participants who piled into the melee realised cameras were in action the assault would never have escalated. A few blows swung, separation, and calm down folks, take ten. What I am telling you tax payers from this eye opening experience, is;  nightclubs with a history of violence are costing you and I money, lots of it!  The legal profession will not seek to amend the law on commonsense values like improve the evidence by installing....., this is bread and butter to them, and thick butter on thick bread!!

One Response to “Jury Duty”

  1. March 2, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    I guess I was one of the strange ones as I was curious enough to want to be a juror. this feeling disappeared very quickly when the sheriff explained that the case we would be hearing concerned the potential abuse of a father with his three daughters. I would say that I hope to never hear words like that come out of the mouth of a 13 year old but was very frustrated with the role of viewer. The lawyers on both sides did not seem to be asking the pertinant questions to try and find out what actually happened. I know these ‘guys’ are paid alot of money for each hour they spend in court but could they just get their heads on striaght to ask sensible questions instead of hinting at everything but obtaining no direct confirmation or otherwise from the witnesses!

    I am glad to say that in this case, the acused changed his plea part way through meaning that we did not need to return a verdict. So we did not have to try and make sense of rambling and loose witness statements! I think if I get called again I must find somewhere else to be otherwise I may be tempted to tell the lawyers to start doing their jobs properly!

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