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Thread: Jury service - anyone done it?

  1. #51
    Master JasonM's Avatar
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    Ive never done jury service or been called, closest I've been to that sort of thing was being approached by a Policeman and asked if I would be willing to participate in a identity parade at the station, I did and they kept me on file and did it a few times, got a tenner a go. This was years ago now.

  2. #52
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    Jury service - anyone done it?

    Done it twice. Won't comment on the cases but 2 guiltys, 1 not guilty and a couple of dismissed panels. Awful lot of waiting around though. I think the use of online trials could reduce a lot of cost for the lower level cases.


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  3. #53
    Grand Master Velorum's Avatar
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    I find it odd that the system selects some people more than once and others not at all.

    Just wondering whether its area or regionally based and this compartmentalisation means that people are selected again if they move to another area? Or perhaps there is no mechanism within the system to default to selecting someone from the electrical register if they haven't done it instead of someone who has?

  4. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by Velorum View Post
    I find it odd that the system selects some people more than once and others not at all.
    That's exactly what you should expect from a genuinely random selection process.

  5. #55
    Grand Master Velorum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitfield View Post
    That's exactly what you should expect from a genuinely random selection process.
    Fair point.

    Just thought that they might want to exclude previous participants.

  6. #56
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    I did Crown Court for two weeks at Christmas, really enjoyed it and would love to do it again. Case was awful but really interesting to see how the system works.

    A lot of waiting around sitting to be called (need loads of mags and an iPad) - I did approx. 4 days in total over 10 which wasn't bad especially as the Snooker Hall was over the road so I used to go there for lunch every day.

    The Court was a five minute drive from my house but most people were commuting 40mins (parking not paid, only fuel) so I was lucky. Everyone was moaning about not being at work but you jsut get on with it, you are actually told not to work even if you get a half day from duty.

  7. #57
    Master snowman's Avatar
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    I've never done jury service (never been asked).

    A friend was asked twice back in the 80s, but just claimed he was too busy at work (I think the firm wrote the letter) and wasn't called again as far as I know.

    As for an intelligence/bigtory test, I see two problems.

    1) The jury is supposed to be a selection of the defendants peers, stupid/bigoted people seem ideally qualified
    2) We'd get through about 6 cases a year if it was introduced!

    M.

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonM View Post
    Ive never done jury service or been called, closest I've been to that sort of thing was being approached by a Policeman and asked if I would be willing to participate in a identity parade at the station, I did and they kept me on file and did it a few times, got a tenner a go. This was years ago now.

    When I was at college I made a fortune doing identity parades, I guess it must help that I looked like a thug back then (that was the only time it helped though)

  9. #59
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    I did Jury service 18 months ago - I managed to get excused twice before through claiming financial hardship (I was a contractor at the time). I'm now in permanent employment, so thought I should do my civic duty.

    I sat around for nearly two days and based on what others had told me, I was imagining I might not ever get on a case. On the afternoon of the second day I was one of the 15/16 selected to go up to the court and in the court I was then selected to sit on the jury. It was a rape/attempted rape/theft case - the proceedings lasted 4 days and then the jury sat in deliberation for just over a day. The juros really were a cross section of society and the different views were eye opening (I live in London, so there was quite a mix). I was amazed by some of the things I heard - one middle aged woamn said that although she felt the defendant was guilty, she didn't want to find him guilty as it would mess up his life! Another said that she didn't think it could be theft, as the defendant knew the victim and she felt you couldn't steal from someomne you knew - despite the jury having earlier asked to go back to the courtroom so that the judge could give a perfectly clear definition of what theft was/was not. The different attitudes were something as well, some were completely intransigent and refused to consider anyone else's opinion - whilst some others seemed as if they'd agree to anything so that they could go home

    I can honestly say that I'm glad I did it - The 6 days flew by - it was eye opening and gave me a real insight into what happens in court, especially the "beyond reasonable doubt" part - I'd always assumed that things would be more cut and dried - in my mind the defendant was guilty, but how sure was I, given the evidence I'd heard.

    Afterwards I still had 4 days of my 2 weeks left, the next day I was selcted for another trial, but wasn't then selected as one of the 12 in the courtroom. I spent the next day waiting around and was then sent home for the last two days - during this last day I spoke to a number of others - some hadn't been called at all, some had been selected on to juries only to be then sent out annd wait around for a day or so whilst procedural stuff was argued and then the cvase was dismissed. One juror had sat on a fraud trail and said he'd struggled to stay awake - the case I sat on had my attention all the way through - that was the nature oif the case (it was qwuirte harrowing at times, especially when the victim gave thier evidence)

    All in all, I'm glad I did it - I felt I learned something and also feel that I made a (small) contribution to society

  10. #60
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    Never been called up thankfully.

    I've heard of people's business's being ruined by cases that drag on for months.

  11. #61
    Master IAmATeaf's Avatar
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    After a false start, not selected from 1 of the 16, I've now been selected for a 2nd case, should deliberate tomorrow which might mean that I might not get any more with only 2 days left after that.

  12. #62
    Grand Master Seamaster73's Avatar
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    I did it last year and it was an eye opener.

    It's coming to something when I'm the bleeding heart liberal in the room, but I was appalled at the ease with which my fellow jurors were ready to deny a man his liberty with hardly any compelling evidence of guilt. And I never use the word as loosely as so many others on here do, but there was genuine racism on display by several of them.

    Ghastly business. Was glad when my stint was over and I could part company with the lot of them.

  13. #63
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    I served twice. The first at Knightsbridge, the second at Harrow.

    Take plenty of reading material and a packed lunch.

    I found both experiences interesting in both the cases being tried and meeting a diverse bunch of fellow citizens.

    If I found myself unlucky enough to be hauled before the judicial system, I would opt for a jury trial if available.

    To quote Tony Hancock "Magna Carta; did she die in vain?"

  14. #64
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    I did it last week after putting it off several times. Got called for 3 days out of 10, on a case that should never have come to court. Luckily there at of the jurors agreed and it took about 20 minutes to reach a unanimous not guilty on 3 charges. Apart from that a lot of waiting around, and oddly everyone goes out for lunch, there were witnesses for the defence in Tesco with me buying sandwiches.


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  15. #65
    Master IAmATeaf's Avatar
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    @berin if you're talking about Harrow, then I've had the defendant race me from the car park to the court building, I mentioned the lack of separation but as with all things lack of space and money means that there have to be compromises. Also the Judge assured us that there have only been 1 or 2 recorded incidents reported where jurors have had to disclose unexpected contact from claimants/defendants.

    I'm hoping that they keep me on for another week as I'm now quite enjoying it.

  16. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmATeaf View Post
    @berin if you're talking about Harrow, then I've had the defendant race me from the car park to the court building, I mentioned the lack of separation but as with all things lack of space and money means that there have to be compromises. Also the Judge assured us that there have only been 1 or 2 recorded incidents reported where jurors have had to disclose unexpected contact from claimants/defendants.

    I'm hoping that they keep me on for another week as I'm now quite enjoying it.
    No, it was Oxford - the briefing was very specific on not talking to anyone, but still a bit odd queuing up next to someone that had just been on the stand. Apparently some courts do still provide lunch to avoid this,

  17. #67
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    Did it a few years back I wrote and said about being mad busy at work and self employed it wasn't a good enough reason to get out of it couldn't defer it for 3 months.
    I sat on 2 cases one was just a complete joke the guy couldn't have been more guilty if he tried (guns case) all kinds of evidence against him including photos of him showing said guns to someone. I found the whole thing very interesting though more the procedure than the case which lasted 4 days we had to debate his guilt with one juror who admitted they just didn't want to send someone to prison despite being completely guilty.
    The second case involved a child and was without a doubt the most unpleasant experience I've ever had some of the things we had to listen to and look at where just vile and still vivid in my mind 5 years on, I often wonder about that poor child if we had the death penalty I'd have happily dispatched the defendant there and then in the witness box.

    The first case enthralled me the police procedures of surveillance following the suspect etc etc was like a crime novel fascinating stuff, the second case I'll never forget and not for good reasons I was crying with rage and anger each night It made me sick. I hope I was just unlucky but if I was called up again I would walk out instantly if I found the case was about anything similar.

  18. #68
    Master IAmATeaf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobar View Post

    If I found myself unlucky enough to be hauled before the judicial system, I would opt for a jury trial if available.

    To quote Tony Hancock "Magna Carta; did she die in vain?"
    Not too sure about this. On one my cases, the first was a good spread of ages, backgrounds, common sense and decency.

    The others, not too sure. In one we had a foreman who was almost self selected who then thought this his verdict was what everybody should adopt. He also seemed to think that any discussions should be instigated by him and conducted through him as he was the foreman. I and many others just ignored the idiot.

    In another we had one juror who just couldn't grasp the fact that as the defence hadn't put forward that the defendant had an alibi and that as the prosecution had stated that the defendant didn't have an alibi that there was evidence missing which is why he couldn't find him guilty. I explained that if the defence hadn't put forward or even mentioned an alibi then the only reason for not mentioning it is that the defendant didn't have an alibi and simply mentioning it would have weakened their case, which is why they never mentioned it but the juror still insisted that there was evidence missing. I also said if you felt that there was evidence missing then why didn't you send a note to the judge, response was can I do it now? No, the trial is over, all evidence has been given and we are deliberating. Yes but there is evidence missing, I gave up at this point.

  19. #69
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    interesting thread so far. I start my jury duty in Harrow CC next month.

  20. #70
    Called two years ago, murder case took 8 weeks. Can't say it was enjoyable as such but very interesting, met some nice people, met some not so nice people. Have been let off from jury service for the next 99 years but if called again will do it, think of it as your civic duty(?) for living in a country with a reasonable legal system.
    Last edited by frogspawn; 24th March 2017 at 19:50. Reason: predictive text

  21. #71
    Wowww! We have the 'bench system' with 1, 3 or 5 judges. Often we hear: We need a jury system! Time for these people to read this thread: a cross section of UK members' experiences and opinions!

    I am going to use the content of this thread every time someone suggests a jury system overhere.

  22. #72
    Did it about 14 years ago after getting a couple of postponements for work reasons. They will definitely let you defer but definitely not forget about you and give you another date. I found it interesting and it reinforced my faith in the jury system but left me with a deeper scepticism about the police and the awful CPS.

    As I understand it if you serve once you are actually more likely to get called again after a few years elapse because you are seen as someone who will attend. I got called again after three years but wrote back saying I was going overseas for work and have not been contacted since

  23. #73
    Master IAmATeaf's Avatar
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    Have to agree about the police and cps from what I saw. In one of the cases the defendant claimed that a guy called George who he sub let his room to for the period that the burglary occurred and it was this George character who left the defendants water bottle in one house and his crowbar in the other as an act of revenge to frame the defendant. The police didn't even question anybody else in the house to see if they had seen or spoken to George to confirm if George even existed.

  24. #74
    Grand Master Seamaster73's Avatar
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    The police were embarassingly incompetent in the case I heard.

  25. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seamaster73 View Post
    The police were embarassingly incompetent in the case I heard.

    In in my case too, they simply hadn't bothered to check a fairly cast iron alibi.

  26. #76
    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    Wowww! We have the 'bench system' with 1, 3 or 5 judges. Often we hear: We need a jury system! Time for these people to read this thread: a cross section of UK members' experiences and opinions!

    I am going to use the content of this thread every time someone suggests a jury system overhere.
    The jury system is supposed to be a "bulwark against tyranny" - and for the most part it works well. The government doesn't like it because it is cumbersome and thus expensive. They have been chipping away at the system for years, trying to restrict the circumstances in which you are entitled to have a jury. In the US where they take such constitutional safeguards more seriously, a (grand) jury even decides whether or not a defendant is indicted - that certainly weeds out some weak cases.

    Professional judges such as (what used to be called) stipendiary magistrates are much faster and work very well PROVIDED you can trust the judiciary not to be corrupted or pressured politically. Judges in the UK are overwhelmingly examples of the very best sort of person doing a vitally important job - very often having taken a substantial pay cut to do it. If you subscribe to the kind of putrid misanthropy peddled by the likes of the Daily Mail, you might however think that judges are at best out of touch or more probably "enemies of the people". If that kind of attitude goes unchallenged then good people will not want to become judges : less able and robust people take the posts and in time we lose confidence in the justice system and everybody suffers.

    What we have, is not as good as it can - or indeed used to - be. It could however be made a whole lot worse - and in the name of "cost saving" the government is doing its damnedest to achieve that.

    A prime example being that legal aid is basically not available to anyone with a modest income or assets. You therefore have to pay for your own defence; believe me you would not want to try to do it yourself. Then even if you are acquitted, you cannot recover your costs beyond legal aid rates (a small fraction of what you probably spent) or quite likely, nothing. The 'democratic' view is that since the majority of people never end up in court charged with a criminal offence, the unlucky few who do and who happen to be innocent, are too few to worry about.

    Those who, having seen the CPS and Police in action, might have a view they can share on how unlucky you have to be to end up spending a life-changing amount of cash to protect yourself from mis-applied executive power.

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