Jury Service

Posted: July 5, 2010 in Life's Experiences
Tags: ,

As I have now been released from Jury Service for today, I thought I would take this opportunity to put down some thoughts on how the first day went.

This is not the first call to undertake duty as a public servant in the Crown Court, it is my second. Like most experiences it is good to reflect upon and learn from them, so if the situation should arise again one is better equipped to deal with it.

So armed with enough change to fill any hungry parking meter; a large flask of coffee, healthy fruit snack, sandwiches and blow up cushion (the chairs are damned uncomfortable) I left the house. Setting up the sat-nav in the car to direct me to the closest, cheapest car park to the courts, I realised to my horror I had deleted the address some time ago. This, I remember, was done in the belief that lightening would not strike twice (well it was over two years ago). I set off hoping that a) my ageing memory would not fail me as I drew closer to my destination, and b) the town had not changed so much that landmarks would still be available for me to get my bearings. Happily enough this part of the experience went without any hitches (who needs in car sat-nav?)

The system for entering the court building had not changed. It reminded me of security at the airport in as much as they had scanners and trays for belongings etcetera; which I suppose is no bad thing in this day and age. However, I did have to convince the security guard that my flask of coffee was not a missile or bludgeon, just a flask of coffee to see me through the day. First one there by five minutes and only an hour early, that’s dedication knowing what was in store.

Once all the jurors had arrived and registered, we were taken down to one of the courts to familiarise ourselves with the environment. Following a fifteen minute brief, where every other sentence appeared to finish with “okie dokie”, on what would be expected of us, and a reminder (I lost count after the eighth mention) that we would experience a considerable amount of time waiting, we went back to the jurors room. It does not matter how many times you are told that you spend a great deal of time not being involved in court business, you don’t believe it till after the event. We then had a DVD which explained everything we had just been told but without, “okie dokie”.

It was not so much strange, more predictable I think, that as I surveyed other jurors in the room I had that familiar feeling I had been there before. Those who were now in their second week with grumbles; discussing how they could make the system better, the same remedies from two years ago. The new jurors not quite believing the amount of time they would be not involved in court business.

From 1030 until about 1245 there was a lot of traffic over the inter-comm systems; faces lighting up at the thought of some action, suddenly filled with mixed emotion. “Right you can all go home now there will be no cases today. Don’t forget to call after six to check if you are needed in the morning, okie dokie.” Some seemed pleased as they could have a day’s shopping, others annoyed at the apparent waste of their time and public money. Others, well experience counts for a great deal so the lesson learnt on jury duty is “take each day as it comes!”

All in all a predictable and uninteresting day and in the lyrics of D:ream, “Things can only get better”?

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