Jury service #4

The trial finished on Monday evening. The jury’s deliberation took about 4 hours. It was a rape case and not open and shut. The girl had ‘met’ the guy on a phone chat line and the first time they met at a friend’s party the alleged rape occurred. She was 17. I don’t know how old the guy was. It came down to believing whether or not her and the prosecution’s accusations were true. The guy did not get on the stand.

The deliberation was a somewhat personally strengthening experience for me. In the locked room with 11 people I did not know and who did not know me I think we all realised that no-one had any preconceived ideas about anyone else which meant that we were all able to speak freely from our hearts and heads without fear of judgment, albeit challenge. For me, when challenge was made against my opinions and the direct question “why?” was put straight to my face after I’d spoken, I found that I *did* have a voice. It was just a very bizarre experience, totally disassociated from my normal life.

Perhaps this is why so far I have been able to walk away reasonably undamaged. One juror was so upset that she felt physically ill and actually threw up. Even though she believed in her and ultimately our verdict she was just sickened. I was too, and despite giving my honest opinion based on the facts presented, I viewed the whole experience as somewhat out of body. Like watching a movie.

So I’ve done my civic duty, I still think about the case quite a bit, but think it was a good and important experience. God forbid I or anyone I know ends up in this situation – I just hope they get a jury that took it as seriously as the 12 of us did.


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