Jury Service – Part 2

What to wear? Men always have this dilemma. So to all you sexists out there who go on about women faffing around with their appearance, I tell you men are much worse.

No matter whether it was my father in the past, or my partner now, there is so much preening and trying on, and looking in the mirror, it is unbelievable.

In fact when we lived in a bedsit thing in Sydney, there was an extremely large mirror in the communal hallway. And who ALWAYS looked in it? Not me.

So the choice for jury service was, shorts and T-shirt and hope to be rejected for being too scruffy, or trousers and jacket, to conform with respecting the law?

There was no dress code on the invitation letter summons. Reluctantly the shorts and T-shirt came off and the trousers and shirt went on. (Shirt a new cast-off gift from our neighbour who can’t get into lots of his clothes).

The jacket was the next discussion. I’d told him it could get quite cold sitting in court. I mean OK, I was talking about the UK more than 20 years ago, but still, I remember sitting there in the press box, wrapped up in a huge coat and with freezing cold fingers struggling to write shorthand. Gib may possibly not be quite as cold – unless of course they have air-conditioning.

He rejected the Goretex and went for the Cerruti. For those fashionistas out there, the trousers were Hugo Boss.

Off he goes. No breakfast because he had an upset stomach. And this is just a potential juror, imagine if he had been on trial!

‘Which door do I use?’ he asked.

‘It’s the Supreme Court, dear. The front door on Main Street. Not the back door for magistrates and low lifes.’

‘Put some beer in the fridge for when I get back.’

The place was heaving. Most people were hanging around outside the courts having the obligatory fag, and those were just the jurors and lawyers.

He started chatting to another juror. They were both carefully avoiding the smokers.

‘With any luck we’ll get told to lárgete,’ said the Gibbo. (Lárgete = go away).

Next up it was Christmas raffle time. Or might as well have been. All our jurors were handed a piece of paper randomly. With a date for when they had to appear.

So, everyone had been ordered to attend today at 10am, and was then given a different date. What a fucking waste of time. Seriously.

You are hereby summoned to attend at the Supreme Court … to serve as a juror and to remain in attendance at the court from day to day until you are discharged.

is not the same as, please turn up at 10am to get a different date. The dates handed out to people were not the same ones, there was a variety of dates. I mean why not just notify people in the first place of the actual date they will be needed? Instead of pissing them about.

Meanwhile:

Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Act blah blah person who fails to attend … is liable to be fined.

That’s all well and good. But – the irony here is that no-one was asked for their name. There was no register, no signing, no all present and correct. I could have turned up and got a bit of paper as far as that goes.

More to the point, if you hadn’t turned up – who would know? Who knows who is due to be at the trials on 3rd, 10th and 17th of December?

That seriously seems to be a cack-arsed and totally disorganised way to go about organising a jury. How can you prosecute someone for failure to attend if you don’t even know they are there?

He came in and rapidly ripped off the Boss and Cerruti and went back to shorts and T-shirt.

All dressed up and nowhere to go.

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About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
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14 Responses to Jury Service – Part 2

  1. Vicky says:

    OMG!!
    What a total f****** waste of time!!
    That would have p’d me off 100%…….time stolen from my life!
    I hope he puts a bill in for loss of earnings for the job he had to turn down.
    So does he have to attend on the three December dates or just one of them?

    Like

    • I don’t understand it! 😦

      It was such a nuisance. I thought I had a lazy spoochy day in front of me. Oh, you mean A’s stolen time. He was just pleased to get home.

      That was the whole thing about the raffle. Everyone who turned up – no names required – just got handed a new slip of paper saying turning up on blah blah. At the mo, he has to turn up on one. Who knows what happens after that.

      What a disrespect for people’s time.

      Like

  2. cobbies69 says:

    I had to do jury service about 15 years ago and it was the most boring two weeks ever. In the two weeks I was shortlisted for a murder case, and would take up almost 3-6 months of my time, but I was not picked for final twelve. so every day I go in and came home, but eventually sat on a case of assault and theft. I voted the low life guilty. and so did the rest of the jury. But it did get very boring, why do they waste peoples time.. Not all cases I will say. But it was a good experience.

    Like

    • Sounds exactly like my partner’s view and he hasn’t even done it yet.

      Me, I’m used to court rooms, but I got paid for going there and know the system, law and procedures.

      A long trial would be a nightmare. A couple of weeks is bad enough. I do worry about people going who have no interest in it, actually I wonder if people vote guilty to just get out of the whole place? Should people be asked to volunteer to serve, eg when you complete the electoral thing, should you tick if you are willing to serve as a juror? Or would juries end up being filled by middle-class liberals like me? 😀

      I’ve not really thought about it before because I would do it automatically. I’m thinking because of my partner’s reaction maybe trials by one’s ‘peers’ may not be as ideal as it should be. But the alternative?

      Actually the first time I went to court was from school. We had a Crown Court down the road so we all piled into the gallery. Maybe I was fascinated from then on. I loved going to Crown Court. But there again, I didn’t have to decide anyone’s fate. Only report on the outcome.

      Like

      • cobbies69 says:

        I found that once you walked through the door for jury personnel and then signed in you were more or less a prisoner until some one released you. I f you were not selected we all still had to wait about until late afternoon and they would then let you go. We were given a daily allowance and if you were in employment they will give a percentage of your wage. It was okay if you liked coffee and sandwiches and national papers and magazines. It is not until after the first couple of days that you realise to take your own bit of amusement.

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        • There was no signing in!! this was part of the joke.
          Waiting until late afternoon sounds a nightmare. I told him to take a book but luckily he didn’t need one. This time. I don’t suppose it would look to good in court if he whipped out his Andy McNab either.
          It’s fine if you work for public sector or somewhere that continues to pay you a wage and release you for service, but actually costing you money so you only get a percentage of your earnings, or some pittance of an allowance would send me ballistic. And we are both picky about coffee and not that keen on crap sandwiches. Bet they weren’t vegetarian anyway at your place 😀

          Like

  3. It’s hard to get people to take the responsibility of jury duty seriously when a government treats their time like this. When I was almost on a jury, we had to sign in more than once. And those of us who weren’t chosen were told we wouldn’t be called again for at least a year.

    Like

    • I think it is such a complex issue. Trial by peers is fine in theory. But how many of us know anything about court and the law? We had civil courses at school (eg above my comment about going to Crown Court to watch a trial). If people are disinterested, losing money through being absent from work, basically resentful, it’s not the right frame of mind for a juror to hold.

      I accept I’m not the norm. I’m so used to the court system, even though so many years ago that I would be willing to do it. But I know what to expect. I know what is involved.

      And even better, the court is a few minutes from my home, so at least I could get a decent sandwich at lunchtime which is more than I could in the past.

      There is also another issue, which I’ll mention on the next post. And that is reprisal.

      Like

  4. prosemachine says:

    I’m sorry he had such an awful experience. Here in Washington, the courts in my county have heaps of respect for potential/current jurors and they are well compensated for their time. I can’t believe this isn’t a universally adapted practice.

    Like

    • That sounds good where you live. At least he didn’t have to hang around all day (qv the comment by cobbies69 above). As Gib is based on the British system, I guess the lack of remuneration and time wasting also follows suit 😦 and not enough money kicking around to compensate adequately.

      Like

  5. EllaDee says:

    Apparently what you wear can make all the difference… When I was called for jury duty I received lots of advice about how to be selected – wear a suit, or not selected – dress like a skank, depending on my preference. Some of the advice overlapped for both, eg dress conservatively. As I was anticipating being released back to the office I simply dressed as usual in my work attire and made sure I had a book to keep me sane while I waited out the process… A. may well go through the same turn up, go away, come back scenario… at least the apprehension may be replaced by boredom.

    Like

    • There was a huge variety in the way people dressed apparently. I would have thought peoples’ prejudice was sufficient that if you dress like an oik you wouldn’t get selected, but he just couldn’t do it 😀 Either way it made no difference this time around. I think he’s a bit more used to the idea of wasting weeks on end now after that first non-event. I still think he should take a book too. I’d probably underdress and take a book if it was me, but there again, I wouldn’t particularly mind doing it. I may change my mind when I get my summons however!

      Like

  6. Hopefully you had remembered to put the beer in the fridge?

    Like

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