Cymraeg

Cymraeg
Location
London, UK
Birthday
August 17
Bio
I live in London with my wife and three cats. Or maybe we live with them. Oh and now we have a puppy!

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Salon.com
NOVEMBER 10, 2010 5:05AM

Things I have learnt from a week and a half of jury service

Rate: 7 Flag

I’ve been a bit quiet on OS recently. This was due to a combination of things including a trip to stay with my parents during half term that meant that I had to add 60 miles to my daily commute for two days (but which meant that we were next to the sea for almost a week, which Kathleen and I both loved), general writer’s lassitude and finally – jury service!

Here are a few things that I learnt from the latter.

 
  1. People lie. They will lie for noble reasons, or foolish reasons, or occasionally for really, really stupid reasons, but they will lie. They’ll even lie if they’re on the stand, having sworn on the bible. Pointing out that they’re committing perjury tends to meet with blank incomprehension followed by asking what perjury means. Some of the lies they tell by the way will be so breathtakingly stupid that you’ll be left wondering if the person on the stand has even two working neurons in their brain.
  2. British Crown Courts superficially look ridiculous, with people in wigs everywhere as well as gowns that look like they come out of a costume drama. Once you’re in court however the whole thing is oddly intimidating, even for a juror. I’m definitely in the wrong job however, as each wig can cost up to £800, whilst full gowns can cost up to £200,000. Does anyone have a horse that needs shaving, or a couple of yards of silk cloth?
  3. The legal system is fair but can lead to people who are guilty as hell being released. Yes, this is an oxymoron. This is immensely frustrating and can lead to jurors ranting. A lot.
  4. Opening an attachment from someone you think you know is never a good idea. If the attachment is called stripgirls.exe then there’s a good chance that a) it’s something that your employers don’t want you looking at and b) it’s a virus you bloody fool. This does entitle you to a bollocking from your IT team. It does not entitle you to headbutt one of them when he calls you a stupid bastard.
  5. Anyone who knocks down their 36-week pregnant girlfriend due to a difference of opinion over the only key to a flat (going out with it would have confined her to the flat) is a piece of pond scum. Anyone who persuades her to lie on the stand, retracting her statement and then blaming her injuries on her “mad mum” isn’t even pond scum.
  6. A lack of witnesses and a clash in the accounts of what happens as a result can lead to 3 above. Did I say how frustrating this can be? Pardon me whilst I sit down and calm myself down.
  7. Jury service can help you to catch up on your reading.
  8. Some English people can get right up my left sinus.
  9. Some English people can be lovely.
  10. The biggest lesson that I have learnt after a week and a half of jury service (that has now ended thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster) is that I need to keep kissing my wife and be very thankful for the wonderful life that we have, because some people are throwing their own lives down the toilet.

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I just got a jury notice. I wonder if 'they' know 'they've' summoned a cat. I guess I'll find out...
Thanks for sharing your experiences.
Best Wishes,
Blittie
How interesting. Isn't is 'guilty until proven innocent' over there? Off with their heads! (no...., that's France, isn't it?)

Did they at least pay you a few pennies a day so you could cover 1/2 the cost of parking each day, (forget about lunch, that's in a brown bag)? It costs me so much to participate, I told the last judge I couldn't afford to be there and probably already had a ticket on my car b/c parking cost 8$/day.
I stopped at the very first point and will read again at leisure.
Why do ppl swear upon the Bible or any religious book? I need to understand why and how and when did Religion corner the market on morality and ethics.
The lies I get.....the swearing I dont.

Welcome back!
Blittie - I think that cats would make very good jurors!

Gabby - They gave us all an expense form and a smart card. They seem to think that you can live for a day (that is various coffees and lunch) on £5.51. Fat chance.

Tom - Experiencing it first hand is very... aggravating. The films don't contain the correct swear words.

Traveller - The stupidity of lying on the stand still amazes me. I mean, you can get fined or even imprisoned if the judge thinks that you're being blatantly in contempt of court. As for the oath - I affirmed instead of pick up the bible.
Good post dear...but you forgot the getting to sleep in. Getting out a bit early and getting to play the guitar, play the wii, tease the cats...
I was very envious of your jury service.
They called me, but the travel costs from London to Oregon daily was deemed too expensive!
"Some English people can get right up my left sinus" may have to be borrowed by me. Even if they're not English.
ugh, my sympathies. I've managed to dodge the last 2 summons due to school, and have been grateful to do so. Our courts don't have the wigs and robes, but we got the idiots aplenty.