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Jury Service - Any Advice?


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55 minutes ago, Martyn Sadler said:

For those of you who have done it, how does the jury elect its chairman, or chairwoman?

On the one I was on it was me , by virtue of being picked first and sitting in the ‘foremans seat’ as it was refered to.

but generally it just tends to sort its self out

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5 hours ago, Martyn Sadler said:

For those of you who have done it, how does the jury elect its chairman, or chairwoman?

That's an interesting question. When I was on jury service, it was done in a fairly sensible way - I think various jurors suggested various other people until we came to a reasonable concensus, but I can imagine how the whole thing could be railroaded if there were one or two types who liked the sound of their own voices and a few quieter types.

One thing that did surprise me was that you aren't really given any guidance about how to do this and how to discuss the evidence when you retire, it's just the 12 of you in the room, so it tends to start by someone saying "ok, how shall we go about discussing this" and you wing it from there. I was lucky in that all 12 jurors on the case I was given seemed well-motivated and conscientious and there wasn't a loudmouth or bullying type amongst us, but I can imagine not all cases are like that.

The whole thing was very interesting, albeit I was only involved in 2 days' service in the 2 weeks, and I'd be happy to do it again.

Edited by The Phantom Horseman
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You're allowed to discuss the case afterwards, as we have open justice, but it's illegal to talk about how the jury reached its decision, as that part is not public. You're also warned not to look up online the defendant or anyone else involved, as that could prejudice the case.

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Thanks for all the responses. Having never done this before I'm almost totally ignorant of how the system works and I haven't yet had time to read the material that has been sent to me.

One other question, though.

Does the defence have the right to question the jurors proposed for their case and/or object to individual jurors?

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1 hour ago, Martyn Sadler said:

Does the defence have the right to question the jurors proposed for their case and/or object to individual jurors?

Not really. If someone involved in the case recognises you, they can object at that point. But there's no jury selection process like the US, and the days of people turning up with a right wing newspaper under their arm to encourage the defence to object to you are gone. They need some legal basis - that you're not legally entitled to be a juror or similar.

Edited by JonM
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8 hours ago, Martyn Sadler said:

For those of you who have done it, how does the jury elect its chairman, or chairwoman?

I was selected for Jury Service some years ago and spent very little time wondering if I was going to be selected. My group were chosen almost straight away and it was a very interesting case. A guy knew the habits of a local fruit and veg shop owner and mugged him for the week's takings as he left to go to the bank. The entire case was fascinating and the Judge was very helpful explaining all the evidence that had been given and what to concentrate on and what perhaps not to pay too much attention to.

As regards choosing the foreman, after we'd deliberated the verdict for about two minutes, someone said "What about a foreman?". A woman I'd been chatting to beforehand suggested I should be the one. I replied that I'd be happy to do it if no one else wanted the task and nobody else did.

However, I remember when the words rang out "Will the Foreman of the Jury please rise?", I don't mind admitting that my heart was pounding out of my chest and my legs were like jelly as I knew that every single pair of eyes in that court room were on me. After I declared the guilty verdict, the defendant eventually was sent down for four and a half years.

If your experience is anything like mine then I hope and think you'll enjoy it.

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Sky Sports Jenna Brooks to Jake Connor regarding England selection : "Shaun Wane has said that he's spoken to you about why you were left out, he's also said he's told you what you needed to do more of, I'm interested, what do you need to do more of and did you do it tonight?"

Jake Connor : "I don't know, to be honest I haven't spoken to him."

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I had a fortnight in the late nineties. Late starts and early finishes with a two hour lunch break. I loved it but only got one case. The bad thing about it was when I went to this case they asked everyone left in the jurors room if anyone was interested in volunteering for a long (expected six month) case. It was a time share scam that was going on over christmas and new year (which I would have got off work). I tried to sign up but had missed the boat😢

Can be boring at times but early darts are the norm once they know the court schedule.

Don't believe everything you hear or see on tv either...like moi. The case I was on went to friday afternoon and we then got sent out for deliberation. I'm gonna get a weekend of all expenses at an hotel because we haven't reached a verdict thought I...........Na...see you all on monday morning said the usher😏

######

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Caught by a feckin speed camera. try these I did and it saved me a heap o money and penalty points.

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10 hours ago, Martyn Sadler said:

For those of you who have done it, how does the jury elect its chairman, or chairwoman?

I was on jury service way back in the eighties at Preston Crown Court. I was called to serve on the first day and the charge for the case was announced as murder . The judge was Sir William Macpherson  ( who was to later  produce the Macpherson report  following the killing of Stephen Lawrence  )who may have seen my open mouthed reaction and said "I see a member of the jury is wearing a coat, it's rather hot in here please feel free to remove it" which I duly did.  I always thought it was a kindly gesture to put the jury at ease, indeed I recall a court usher telling us what a gentleman he was. As far as electing the chairman , basically at first there was a deafening silence when one of the jury asked if there were any volunteers and eventually one member offered if no one else was prepared to . On my second case one of the jury had a rather superior bearing and angled for the job assuming everyone would follow him unfortunately  the other jury members took a dislike to Captain Mainwaring and pushed an ill equipped and reluctant me into the role. I think I was the Jim Hacker choice of last resort. One thing which shocked us a bit with the murder case was at the end of the first day we had to walk out of the court through a posse of the defendants mates and relatives who theoretically could have followed us on our way home. Perhaps these matters have now been addressed as this was a long time ago.

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1 hour ago, White Chevron on Blue said:

at the end of the first day we had to walk out of the court through a posse of the defendants mates and relatives who theoretically could have followed us on our way home. Perhaps these matters have now been addressed as this was a long time ago.

Cambridge Crown Court - like most places in town - is pretty difficult to get to by car. For the death by dangerous driving case I had, we had the defendant + family + victim's family + jurors all typically coming on the same park'n'ride bus. And we all trooped into the nearby M&S to pick up sandwiches beforehand, where the judge was doing the same.

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I did it a few years back, an interesting process but would gladly never do it again.

As has been said take a good book.

I'd also suggest when you retire to consider the verdict suggest to whoever has put them forward to be chair that you take a vote before the discussion starts to see where the land lies otherwise you'll end up going off on a talking shop for hours when you may already all agree.

Don't be afraid to take notes during the trial, will be useful both for your own reference as the trial unfolds if its over a few days and when your in the jury room, will depend on the complexities of the trial.  On the case I was selected for we must have been in and out of the court room 4 or 5 times a day while legal points were discussed behind closed doors so there wasn't much continuity, so over the course of 5 days the notes came into there own.

It is worth taking food and drink supplies if you can, we found that if we got sent out we had to stay in the waiting room, but sometimes you couldn't get a brew as they'd shut up shop.

Hardest part of I found, was it was a case around a sexual assault on an underage girl, details where harrowing in places, so worth bearing in mind you can't talk about it so I found walking helped, parked further away from court than I needed and just had a walk to clear the head. 

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On 24/11/2021 at 08:49, Martyn Sadler said:

For those of you who have done it, how does the jury elect its chairman, or chairwoman?

A 'leader' tends to emerge and its done by a simple vote, there aren't usually too many offering to be the foreperson. Make sure there are no conflicts - I had to stand down from a jury, when a barrister merely recognised me from a couple of sportsman dinners, where he had spoken.

Done it twice, once in London, once in Leeds, I actually found it interesting but depressing. A nasty individual pleaded not guilty to rape,couldn't really understand why, as the evidence was overwhelming, turned out he had previous, so apparently was on an automatic life sentence if guilty,so he just tried it on. Found guilty, previous read out, sentenced to life, people happy, then Judge added that he could seek parole after 7 yrs. Headline in Yorks Post, Rapist sentenced to life, actually available for parole after 7 yrs, albeit not automatic.

You could find yourself on 2 or 3 short cases or equally, just sat around for 2 weeks if not selected.

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A few minutes ago I was telephoned by a Court official who told me that they had more jurors due to attend than they could fit in the courthouse, so they have now decided that I can be excused, although I will still be recorded as having done jury service.

She was very apologetic about it, thinking that I would be upset.

To her surprise, I thanked her profusely.

Many thanks to everyone on here who responded to my original and subsequent posts.

Despite the fact that I won't now be doing jury service, the comments on this thread were very interesting. I'm sure the next member of the forum who gets called up for jury service will find them very useful.

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Mixed feelings, Martyn? Or did you really not want to do it?

"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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On 24/11/2021 at 09:50, marklaspalmas said:

Interesting thread.

I don't know anyone who's done it.

I have one friend who is a barrister (UK) and two other friends who are judges (Spain)

My next door neighbour was a magistrate and I have a very good friend who is a QC, he lives in Stone, Stoke on Trent.

Carlsberg don't do Soldiers, but if they did, they would probably be Brits.

http://www.pitchero....hornemarauders/

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43 minutes ago, Futtocks said:

Mixed feelings, Martyn? Or did you really not want to do it?

I'm sure I would have found it very interesting and there's a part of me that would really have liked to do it.

But to spend at least two weeks away from LPL at a very busy time would have been quite difficult, so on balance I'm glad I don't have to do it.

But then again I'll never know what I'm missing.

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3 hours ago, Martyn Sadler said:

I'm sure I would have found it very interesting and there's a part of me that would really have liked to do it.

But to spend at least two weeks away from LPL at a very busy time would have been quite difficult, so on balance I'm glad I don't have to do it.

But then again I'll never know what I'm missing.

The opportunity to stand up as Foreman of the jury and take everyone by surprise by proclaiming "He's obviously as guilty as sin, send him to the gallows!".

This would be far more interesting than what you actually have to do and that is just answer two questions :

"Have you all reached a unanimous verdict?"..."Yes"

"Do you find the defendant guilty or not guilty?"..."Guilty/not guilty".

Just think, you would certainly liven up the place, especially if you'd all agreed on the "not guilty" verdict!

Sky Sports Jenna Brooks to Jake Connor regarding England selection : "Shaun Wane has said that he's spoken to you about why you were left out, he's also said he's told you what you needed to do more of, I'm interested, what do you need to do more of and did you do it tonight?"

Jake Connor : "I don't know, to be honest I haven't spoken to him."

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