Jury service # 1

I received a summons to attend jury service at the District Court starting yesterday for 3 weeks. I made my arrangements with work and trotted off at the appointed time looking as much like a piece of furniture as I could to avoid being selected.

Upon arrival the jury assembly and ante room were absolutely crowded and stinking hot due to all the sniffing and coughing bodies wrapped up in winter coats and scarves. We had to line up and check in. Boy, what a cross section of people – a random selection off the electoral roll I suppose. And what a mix! 

  • old, young and the very old Chinese guy who had some kind of police infringement notice who was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was hard of hearing,

  • the casually dressed from students to retired folk,

  • well dressed housewives

  • men in very snappy suits

  • women equally as snappy with their low foam low fat trim caps from Starbucks (obviously trying to look like Ally McBeal in case that increased their chances of rejection),

  • all different races,

  • half a dozen people who had reported to the wrong floor – they should have been on level 6 for high court jury selection

  • a guy with very greasy hair in a flannelette shirt clutching his New World plastic bag of home-made lunch,

  • the ‘busy’ woman who sighed every 5 minutes to indicate to someone that she just didn’t have the time for this,

  • the designer guy in baggy paper denim jeans and pointed black patent leather crocodile shoes who kept darting in and out with his cell phone,

  • young Asian males texting, gaming, pxting or whatever with their cell phones,

  • a handful of middle aged men in their ‘Barkers’ gear who had been to Whitcoulls on their way to the courthouse and bought the latest John Grisham, Lee Childs or Tom Clancey book to read,

  • a guy who had been on a jury before who told everyone how many more people there were this time, and how everything was taking so much longer than last time,

  • a gran who thought that because she promised her daughter she would look after her grandchildren that she would get excused on the spot,

  • every other kind of person in between,

  • and me.

After giving us helpful (used) booklets to read, and showing a video, two staff shouted out instructions – one inside the jury assembly room, the other relaying it from the door way to those of us overflowing out into the ante room. We were advised that the 3 week trial was not going ahead, and that we should fill out forms to be reimbursed if we had cars in a car parking building or had paid for childcare. And the piece of information we all wanted to hear – they were going to do 2 ballots of 35 people to go into each of 2 courtrooms for a further weeding down to 12 people for each jury. I was not called in the balloting process, so returned to work at about 11am. I think I earned $31 from the Department for Courts for that little outing.

Each night this week those of us rejected are to ring the jury answer-phone service to find out if we’re required the next day. Needless to say, I’m at work today, wearing orange, no need to go near the court house. Will find out about tomorrow after I get home tonight.


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