A Conversation for Talking Point: Trial by Jury

from the horses mouth

Post 1

daraline, keeper of unusual rats and deranged hamsters

i work for the Jury Central Summoning Bureau as a supervisor. A jury is radomly selected. in england and wales, the counsel have no say over who gets selected and who doesn't. the only person who is able to say no to a certain juror is the defendant.

the right to trial by your peers is one that is centuries old, and personally i don't want to see it go.

what annoys me is when i receive summons forms back from jurors saying they can't serve because they think prison is to harsh, or they couldn't ever bring themselves to convict anyone of a crime. what if their mum/sister/gran had been robbed/raped/murdered. would they want a jury full of people with their own personal convictions like that. rapists/murderers/child abusers etc would be going free in their droves. justice wouldn't even get a look in.

jury duty is a civic duty, and an important one that goes back centuries. people should be grateful that we still have it. if you are accused you are tried by your peers, not a judge who may be out of touch.

xxsmiley - peacedove

from the horses mouth

Post 2

daraline, keeper of unusual rats and deranged hamsters

as for people smart enough to get out of jury duty these are the people exempt;
people involved in the administration of justice
anyone on bail
anyone who has received a custodial or suspended sentance in the last 10 years
members of the clergy

people who can apply for excusal
people over 65
healthcare workers
people with medical complaints

people can apply to be excused or deferred for
work commitments
childcare problems
being a carer
language difficulties

i'm the person that makes the decision whether or not to defer you. put it this way, i get a lot appeals to pass to the head of the bureau, and quite a few of those get passed on to a judge for the juror to appeal directly to. it is a lot harder to get out of jury duty these days. being self employed is no bar.

xxsmiley - peacedove

from the horses mouth

Post 3


Hi Daraline,

I work in an Electoral Registration office and the extracts from the Electoral Register which we send to you exclude anyone over the age of 70 from being called up for Jury Service. What's your opinion on that? Most people I know who are over 70 are perfectly capable of sitting on a jury. I think it must be a leftover from the days when people didn't live as long and 70 = senile.

smiley - panda

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