I was called up for jury duty a few weeks ago. I wasn’t selected in the end so it was a boring three hours spent sitting on a hard wooden bench that’s left my back stuffed ever since.
There were a hundred of us there in the pool and they had two cases they were selecting for. When you first arrive you’re given your juror number which from then on you are referred to as so your name can remain secret squirrel. Which was handy as I was going to use my sisters name if anyone asked for it. When I received my number the guy told me they had two cases starting and one would go for three weeks and one would go for one week and which would I prefer. I almost laughed but said, one please, thinking, who would pick three? Well just about everyone as it turned out.
So then I proceeded to the hard wooden bench where we watched a video saying what would happen then we listened to the court official tell us again what would happen and then he said, everyone who said they could do three weeks follow me and about 85 people out of the hundred toddled off after him. I thought, wow, they must be really bored or something.
So more sitting and waiting while they went off to the court room and were selected or rejected before they came back and a guy told me it had been a murder trial.
Off we all toddled to another court room and I hadn’t realised (as they don’t tell you) that when you walk in it’s all set up ready to begin so if you get selected you walk straight up to the jury box (from another hard wooden bench) and everyone else is excused and the trial gets started. So be warned, go to the toilet and have a drink before you head in.
This one was for an armed hold-up and as I said my number wasn’t called so I went home and hopefully I’m off the list for a while. They say it’s a random selection from the electoral role but I’m a bit suss on that seeing as how my husband and I have both been called up within six months of each other. He was excused as he’s a sole trader. If I get summoned again I’ll be getting a medical certificate saying that I can’t sit for extended periods which isn’t a lie and was something the judge talked about; if you had trouble hearing, or sitting for a long time or didn’t think you could be impartial or knew any of the accused or witnesses or thought the case would disturb you to speak up. I’d already decided I wasn’t going to do any animal cruelty case, that I was going to say I couldn’t be impartial and I didn’t want to hear or see any nasty things that would scar me for life.
I don’t know how I feel about jury duty really. I mean what if you do hear or see something that really disturbs you and you’re messed up for the rest of your life. You don’t want to be selected for something boring like tax evasion but you don’t want a really gruesome murder either, well I don’t think I would. Also, how can you be sure a juror really is impartial? I was feeling pretty pissed off myself that I had to go and waste my time because some dick head couldn’t just stay home and behave himself. I know, innocent until proven guilty and all that but if you’ve had to take time off work, travel on a stinky bus and sit on a really uncomfortable seat because you’ve been threatened with a fine if you don’t and then have to do that for three weeks or more, well you mightn’t be feeling fondly about the situation. Maybe jury duty should be a job where people are specifically trained to be jurors or maybe the judge should just make the decisions. Although you only have to have been watching the news lately to see how well that can go!
Anyway I banked my $8.00 travel expenses cheque they sent and hopefully I won’t hear from them again. Duty done.