Jury Service #1 & 2 – 4th time

Before posting about my 4th stint on jury service this week I looked back at my last week of service – it’s all pretty much the same! I had to spend 2 mornings there this week – Monday and Thursday, both days was balloted into the jury room and on Thursday was called up to be juror no. 12. The closest seat, the shortest possible walk-time for the lawyers to scrabble through their lists to find my name then check me out. As I approached the jury box the lawyers were giving me the once-over as they normally do so I returned in kind: I made full, stony-faced eye-contact first with the defense lawyer, then with the crown lawyer before approaching the box and using an almost imperceptible shake of my head declined the bible being offered with as much disdain as was socially acceptable and then taking a step up to my seat. “Challenge defense!” Oh! Guess my stare-down worked. For whatever reason I reckon that put them off – probably thought I was some kind of staunch, no-nonsense ‘modern’ bitch of a woman who would have no mercy and no likelihood of wavering on a guilty verdict. Either that or they saw my Xero t-shirt and decided that I was a goody-goody brown-nosing my employer, eager to please and given the larger number of women on the jury already would be easily swayed to their way of thinking and would side with a guilty verdict no matter if I had my own doubts.

There was a massive wait on Thursday, over an hour, while a previous trial finished and the 40 of us waiting for the jury box ballot just had to sit in the waiting room and not leave the premises. Hmmm, right over morning tea time. Out came the milk arrowroots (plain cookies). I really wanted a coffee. So I tweeted thinking one of my followers might work nearby and could deliver a coffee. The Mister tweeted back that he’d do it! Couldn’t believe it and texted him not to as I was beginning to get nervous that we’d be called into the jury room while I was ‘illegally’ outside getting the coffee. However, next minute I got a text that he was outside! So I formed what I’d say in my head if the court attendant asked me where I was going when I got to the lift (cigarette break (those people were allowed outside!)) and also what I’d say if someone asked me if I went all the way around to Fuel to get it (was outside for a cigarette break when a friend walked by, we got chatting, I was lamenting the lack of good coffee so they offered me theirs, oh how nice!) braced myself, and set off downstairs. No-one stopped me, it was great to see The Mister unexpectedly, no-one asked me where I’d been when I got back and the coffee was goooooood. So I didn’t have to lie in court!

There was the same collection of people as previous visits, people who I’ve come to think of as those in our city who don’t have anywhere else to be or aren’t so important that they can’t give up a couple of mornings a week to sit around waiting. I know that’s a dreadful generalisation but that’s what it feels like. It’s totally different than any of the other ‘public’ activities and meetings/conferences I’ve been to lately – no tapping away on laptops (I think there was 1 in the group of 130-ish people) and a handful of iPhones. It struck me as rather ironic (if that’s the right way to use this word Castle (!)) that the jury attendance induction DVD had a whole section specifically on the importance of attending jury service, what you learn by taking part with testimonials from people who’ve done it and said it was interesting and an important part of keeping our democratic society going … they should put that online or send out the DVD to people with the summons! If we showed up to do jury service we probably already realise all that so the message is wasted on us! They need to get some fresh blood in there!

A couple of people of note – the 3 ladies that brought along knitting the second day and formed some kind of knitting club (am SO doing that next time) and the woman that sat near me very loudly sucking her way through an entire packet of Mentos lollies, bashing them against her teeth and slurping. I cannot believe she didn’t realise the sound was audible outside of her own head!


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