Conversation Society, News and Sport
Helper icon Helpers: Chris2mates , LLstill , PrincessFruitBat

About us

Midsummer's Eve is a free online dating community - based around friendship, real meetups, real people, and real relationships. We've been online since 1999 and have twice won Radio 2's Web Site of the Day award. So why not join us for free and join in the discussion?

Jury service

tumbleweed  Male  Gloucestershire 13-Jan-2018 15:30 Message #4709541
I have never been called up for Jury service, but I know a few people who have, and also some on here have mentioned it as well.

I would find it a very difficult thing to do for varied reasons. Also interesting as well, but certainly difficult.

Difficult to remain unbiased - Opinions sometimes being formed by researching previous things, which you shouldn't do. Also by some of the things that I would see as 'evidence', therefore in my eyes guilty guilty guilty, for instance.

Difficult to attend due to health - I know you can get exemptions for certain things, and my current health, although not consistently bad, would be a worry for me to attend for any length of time.

I would think that at least some of the other jurors would be feeling the same sort of things as well. Some already in their minds saying 'guilty' others already decided 'innocent'

Most people are not trained for such a thing, so it must be very strange and annoying and confusing being locked away with the others, trying to work through the evidence to make the decision, thinking about some of them as 'what a prat' etc.

I just hope I don't get called up.

What do you think of it all?
coffeelover  Female  Norfolk 13-Jan-2018 16:40 Message #4709544
I think that we should embrace the fact that we still have such a democratic system of justice.

When hearing evidence in a trial you hear both sides; prosecution and defence. It is only by listening first hand to the evidence, viewing the witnesses and any supporting expert information, can you truly form an opinion.

Of course there will be some people in society who will inmoveable, sometimes with biased and ill informed, views but it is up to the jury to discuss and deliberate Until they come to a majority decision. But I believe that most people would take the responsibility seriously and do their best.

I am sure there will those who will point out the faults in the system including lawyers use of tactics of persuasion. But I would far rather have our system, where we have clear structure and guidance, where one is innocent until proven, ‘beyond all resonable doubt’ that they are guilty.

Imagine be8ng charged and on trial... how then. Would you w@nt to be judged?
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd 13-Jan-2018 17:51 Message #4709545
I've never been called up for it either and of course there are some things I would find it very hard to be unbiased about, but as cl says you do hear both sides. I would really struggle with a complicated fraud case because I don't feel I have the maths skills to keep up with all the numbers. I probably would find it hard to work with others, I could see myself ending up as the person who disagrees with everyone else and won't back down, this has happened before in situations where the group has to make a descision, I find that a one person says a load of stuff and all their sycophants agree despite any evidence to the contrary.
tumbleweed  Male  Gloucestershire 13-Jan-2018 18:29 Message #4709547
Good points so far.

There are also things like people who work. One of my workmates 10 years or so ago, was called up for over a month. His job at work had to be covered with overtime. I'm not sure if the company are allowed to claim the overtime money back or not. Also some people may not have a job to go back to, if the case goes on and on. The business may have to take on a permanent position, or use contractors or agencies. Then when you go back, say after a long 6 month trial, you could be out of touch with your job, which has now moved on without you. If redundancies are in the pipeline, then you may be one of the prime candidates for it.

Another thing, imagine a jury made up of people on these conversations. How the hell would anything get decided properly?
tumbleweed  Male  Gloucestershire 13-Jan-2018 18:49 Message #4709548
Even worse, if you were being accused of something, imagine a panel of MSE 'experts' deciding your fate.

If that doesn't put people off crime for life, then nothing will.
coffeelover  Female  Norfolk 13-Jan-2018 18:54 Message #4709549
imagine a jury made up of people on these conversations. How the hell would anything get decided properly?

Someone would be elected Forman and would be responsible for steering conversation.

As for loss of earnings they are paid back although I have a feeling at a limited amount.
Firms should support individuals in carrying out their civic duty, in the past the6 would be proud to do so. Maybe the compensation needs to be realistic. My cousin told me that he was recently called and was on a case for four months, his company were not happy but ha£ no choice in the matter.
coffeelover  Female  Norfolk 13-Jan-2018 19:01 Message #4709550
By steering I mean direct and make sure all points heard, debated and decisions made
tumbleweed  Male  Gloucestershire 13-Jan-2018 19:14 Message #4709551
How is the foreman decided though. Without anyone knowing anyone else, how can you properly decide a 'decent' foreman.

I am sure there will be some who say things like 'I have been in charge of a very successful business for 30 years blah blah, and nobody here will know how to do it better than me blah blah blah.
Timmee  Male  Hampshire 13-Jan-2018 19:32 Message #4709552
I think most jury service is for a two week stint, but of course some trials can be much longer.

I did 2 weeks jury service at Southampton Crown Court in April last year and I sat on two different juries for 2 different trials. My 2 trials were extremely interesting, and found that I became deeply engaged in assessing the evidence as things went along - and absolutely committed to doing my very best to produce a just verdict. I think my fellow jurors felt the same and the experience of seeing the jury system up close convinced me it's a good system. As the trail proceeds it dawns on you that you are the last line of defence against any potential miscarriage of justice, so you take it seriously and do your best to be fair and impartial.

You are not allowed to discuss the case with other jury members unless all 12 jursors are present and you are 'Secluded' together in the 'Jury Room'. In a short trial, this is only likely to happen at the very end of the trial, so when the jury finally goes off to 'Deliberate' and you sit around the table in the Jury Room, you don't know what your fellow jurors are thinking. After you've elected a foreman/woman, it's really interesting to hear what everyone's initial reaction is. Each time the jury leaves the Court Room (except at the end) you go back to the 'Jury Area' which is a big room where all the Jurors and potential jurors from all the trials stay when they are not actually in court. Southampton has 6 court rooms so on the first day before trials have started, you potentially have 72 jurors (plus spares before a jury is selected) sitting in the Jury Area.

You are allowed to leave the Court building at lunch time and wander off as long as your back before the time the Judge has elected to re-start.
eurostar  Female  Merseyside 13-Jan-2018 19:33 Message #4709553
I have been on jury service...wages and expenses were paid...many with me were first timers and so all nervous but goodness we took it very seriously, and the judge was very good with his direction.
I got three cases over a fortnight,,,ABH, GBH and a paedophile...
would not want to do it gain but if called would obviously
Timmee  Male  Hampshire 13-Jan-2018 19:51 Message #4709554
Oops - I forgot to mention the election of the forman/woman.
When the jury retires to the Jury Room, the court user gives you a briefing about all the practicalities (Judge's guidelines, toilets, food & drink, fridges, kettles, and about pushing the button to summon him or her if there are questions or you've reached a verdict. The Usher then leaves and you all chat and make tea or coffee. Your first duty is to elect the foreman so people say if they want to do it, if they don't want to do it and give their reasons (or not.) Most probably won't want the job. You've probably chatted to some of your fellow jurors already during the breaks in the trial and you now get to hear those speak that you've not previously heard. If you have several peeps wanting to do it, you may have to take a formal vote, but it may just be agreed in friendly conversation.
tumbleweed  Male  Gloucestershire 14-Jan-2018 08:45 Message #4709560
It is interesting hearing personal experiences. Thank you for the responses.

Often, when I am on an inquisitive mission, I will create scenarios like 'what happens if...' etc, so there are many questions.

Most of the answers, I expect, could be found online somewhere, but it is more interesting to get peoples personal take on them.

I have just looked up about health issues, in case I get the call, but I haven't found whether I am exempt yet. I will carry on looking, but I am certainly not in a fit state to hold down a job at the moment for instance, with my heart failure, so I would think that I wouldn't be forced to do it.

Other scenarios involve the interaction of the group, which in my experience of some groups, involves some people not taking it as seriously as others, some turning up late,some needing to go early, some using their phones, some wanting to go for a smoke, and many other things.
tsunamiwarrior  Male  Hertfordshire 14-Jan-2018 08:57 Message #4709562
I was surprised when a friend of mine who was particularly dishonest and had criminal convictions served on a jury. I was even more surprised when he stated that he could tell the defendant was guilty just by looking at him.
Fortunately there are enough jury members for the occasional bad one to be much less likely to influence the verdict. No system will be perfect but ours in the UK is very good and fair.
tumbleweed  Male  Gloucestershire 14-Jan-2018 09:19 Message #4709564
Yes, it seems the system works fairly well, but it shows there are things that happen that they don't tell you about in the 'brochure'.

wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd 14-Jan-2018 10:37 Message #4709571
If you have a medical problem then I believe you can talk to court officials about it when you get notification, so for someone like me who would find it very difficult to sit in one place and one position for more than about 20 mins and would be in so much pain I'd be unable to concentrate on procedings I could reasonably ask to be excused service, especially with a sick note. I think they'd far rather know these things beforehand as if a juror has to pull out then there has to be a retrial with a whole new jury and everything.
Sea Urchin  Female  Essex 18-Jan-2018 09:50 Message #4709833
I was called up for jury service over twenty years ago now. I found it intesting. There were two cases, the first one seemed to drag on a bit and was basically a pub brawl. To me it sounded like six of one and half a dozen of the other. I did feel that both should have been on trial. But better still, rather than so much money wasted on the case, to simply bang their heads together, give a large fine and say don't do it again. The other was a very attractive woman dog breeder, on a charge of falsifying documents and passing off a dog as pure bread that in the end clearly wasn't. As the case progressed it became obvious beyond doubt that she was guilty. We were than told the case was being dismissed and no reason given. Have a feeling, the attractive woman in question, must have come to some agreement with the judge.:-)
When I was a child my father was also called up for jury service. I can remember overhearing a conversation he had with my mother on returning, saying that somebody was obviously guilty but he was pressured into saying not guilty. The reason given was that the rest aof the people on jury service all wanted to go home early and rather than spend ages debating the case, pressured others to just say not guilty and get it over with. My dad wasn't happy, especially as it turned out the guy had a string of other offences.
It seems to me that it would be better if somebody was employed to be spokesperson and oversee the twelve jurors. That way they could give everyone an equal chance to voice their opinions. I know on the cases I was on, somebody just said, if nobody has any objection I will be spokesperson/foreman and seemed to hog the whole show, with their opinions. Quieter people can feel a little intimidated by the louder more opinionated ones and be less inclined to say what they really feel. And if there was somebody paid to be in charge, you could not have someone returning the wrong verdict, just so that they could go home early.
Timmee  Male  Hampshire 18-Jan-2018 10:01 Message #4709834
Very interesting account. Did you see the excellent drama 'The People vs O J Simpson' and the documentary (I forget the name) last year. In the documentary a couple of the jurors admitted that by the end, all they were concerened about was going home.
tumbleweed  Male  Gloucestershire 18-Jan-2018 12:09 Message #4709847
Interesting posts. It gives a bit of an insight into what actually goes on. I have had a feeling that certain other things come into it. Maybe some more than others.

I haven't seen the OJ drama, other than the actual real life stuff that I have seen, so I will check it out.
Timmee  Male  Hampshire 18-Jan-2018 13:11 Message #4709850
The documentary was called 'O.J. Made in America' and was broadcast by the BBC as a Storyville last year.

The Drama 'American Crime Story - The People vs O J Simpson' was a tour-de-force. The cast were all superb and there were no weak performances. As well as being gripping, it was often hilarious too. I don't own it yet but it will be added to my box sets collection along with The Wire , Breaking Bad, West Wing, House of Cards etc.
Sea Urchin  Female  Essex 18-Jan-2018 14:59 Message #4709851
Hi Timmeee, No I didn't see the documentary you mentioned. Sounds interesting. That was rather a long drawn out case though, so can well imagine jurors just wanting to go home, especially as most had likely drawn their own conclusions before the case even started.
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd 18-Jan-2018 15:48 Message #4709856
I think jury service is difficult if your'e self employed, you lose a lot of money and business.

Back to top  Back to top

Help with conversations Help with conversations »