I start Jury Service on Monday.
I have selected an appropriate book to read while I’m waiting for jury selection prior to the trial of the day.
Everyone I know who has read it says that it’s good. It’s a bit of a slow start though. Hopefully it’ll keep me awake long enough to decide whether to free someone or “send them down”.
I’m a bit concerned that my many biases will make me prejudge people. The following groups should beware:
- Scruffy, drunken chavs (I’m sorry but I just hate you)
- Men with full beards (clearly hiding something)
- Women with thick, wrinkled, leathery skin that smoke (no class, dear)
- Anyone who looks like an estate agent (obviously dishonest)
- People with tattoos (clearly criminals especially if the tattoos are crap rather than aesthetically pleasing)
- People who mutter (guilty of something)
- People who are too eloquent (glibness betrays their preparation so they must be lying)
- Anyone who cries (such emotional displays betray an underlying propensity for discarding reason and so they must have a higher probability of guilt)
- Anyone who brings their mum to the trial (clearly they have no shame)
- Anyone who brings their laddish friends with them that talk and shout encouragement to their mate during the trial (I need to provide a lesson to these people about appropriate behaviour by punishing their friend)
I’m looking at this as an opportunity to rid the world of some undesirable elements. I’ve already decided that I will always have reasonable doubt regarding a person’s guilt so I have to decide using an emotional response rather than reason. Reason tells me that I won’t have enough evidence to be completely sure, even if I were a witness I might still have room to doubt.
No, better I just do my civic duty and cleanse the streets of Portsmouth (and surrounding towns and villages) of those who might cause me some annoyance.
However I am not completely harsh or hostile to the failings of our legal system. In my magnanimity I will pardon anyone who comes to trial on Thursday who works with hammers as a special tribute to the god, Thor. Also anyone who introduces me to a new word or an especially interesting or archaic word during their trial.
I hope that this illustrates my opinion of a jury of peers as an ineffective choice. I’d like to see professional jurors with appropriate training and accreditation introduced. Don’t let idiots like me loose to decide the fate of those accused of crimes, I’ll either free the guilty or punish the innocent based on nothing more than a vague impression of innocence or guilt.
If you fall into any of the categories above please head to the nearest police station and confess your crimes. It’s for the best.