Monday, 13 June 2011

silence, ladies and gentlemen of the jury

I gather from various sources that a jury member has tweeted or Facebook messaged a victim or a defendant, doesn't matter which, and has been remonstrated with for having done so. I live now in a country which does not go in for jury trial, but I still believe in the principle of trial by one's peers. The more so since I read recently that there were those who wanted to end trial by jury because most jury members are working class, less able than others to get out of this duty, and thus more likely to be members of the criminal classes, professional people (who of course are never criminals) being able to weasel out. This is the point at which I share the story with which I have already bored most of my acquaintance. Quite a number of years ago my mother did jury service, in Bodmin, Cornwall. In those days counsel could object to up to two jurors without giving a reason (the rules have changed since) and my mother was objected to by defence counsel. Much offended (she was already in the jury box when objected to) she asked a court official why this had happened, and was told that defence counsel usually objected to older women jurors in rape cases, as they tended to convict. I asked my mother if she had seen the defendant at the point she was objected to, and she said "Yes, and he was obviously guilty. I could tell by his face."

I have never done jury service (never been called) but would like the experience one day. Sig
other was called to jury service about five years ago, at the Old Bailey. Neither Twitter nor
Facebook were mainstream then, but people, including sig other, most certainly were on line. It was a murder trial, and the jury received the usual warnings about privacy of
deliberations. Sig other never talked to me about the trial, and I never knowingly saw media reports of it, then or later. I still don't know the name of the defendant. I do know that
the trial was distressing for the jury, and that all have been excused jury service for the
rest of their lives as a result. The point I am making is that the responsibility is a
serious one, and that the existence of Twitter and so on do not change that. It may be more difficult for those who are used to tweeting all their daily concerns (and I do this quite a lot) to keep shtum. But that is what they must do.

Hein?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

You won't be called if you have a conviction. Hein?

Jane Griffiths said...

Welcome back. No, I believe those with criminal convictions do not get called for jury service.

Jonny said...

Anon 21:22, I appreciate jury service can be a burden, but your plan seems a little extreme.

Jane Griffiths said...

Indeed. What crime would you be prepared to commit to avoid jury service anon 2122?

Anonymous said...

drunk and disorderly!!!!!

Jane Griffiths said...

not sure this would be possible. How would you go about it?

Anonymous said...

How's about perjury?

Or blackmail?

Sound familiar?

Anonymous said...

D&D could be done if we put our mind to it. Lets meet at St.Mary's Butts at 8. I'll bring the cider and you bring the block of gold.

Anonymous said...

Butt up your Endgame.