To think that if people are forced to do Jury service...

(95 Posts)
Pseudonym99 Mon 29-Jul-13 19:21:42

...against their will, then you cannot expect them to take it seriously, abide by the rules and they shouldn't be held responsible when they break those rules? And how can it be in the interests of justice to have jurors there who do not take it seriously or do not want to be there?

NarkyNamechanger Mon 29-Jul-13 19:22:43


ageofgrandillusion Mon 29-Jul-13 19:34:35

Yabu. For me, these idiots should be serving a year or more behind bars. The utter contempt and arrogence they show is beyond belief.

RobotBananas Mon 29-Jul-13 19:36:18

YABU. Imagine you only had people who wanted to do it, and would do it repeatedly. Wouldn't you be worried about their motives?

Pseudonym99 Mon 29-Jul-13 19:37:43

Perhaps people should be allowed to claim some sort of 'conscientcous objection' to Jury Service? If people are unable to be impartial, or object to it, how can it be in the public interest to have those people in a jury?

hermioneweasley Mon 29-Jul-13 19:38:52

YABU, it's the responsibility of every citizen. They should throw the book at these idiots.

hermioneweasley Mon 29-Jul-13 19:39:51

OP, I am sure if that if you unable to be impartial due to a genuine conflict of interests, then I'm sure you will be put on a different case.

DeepPurple Mon 29-Jul-13 19:40:00

YANVU. They should have gotten a year each for contempt. Idiots.

ilovesooty Mon 29-Jul-13 19:40:02

You don't think the jurors can be expected to take it seriously and can't be held responsible? Wtaf?

I also think a substantial term behind bars is appropriate.

thebody Mon 29-Jul-13 19:41:27

I managed it at 18 because I am not a prize prat.

we are all citizens in a democracy and in my opinion they should be jailed for contempt of court.

you are being very daft op.

Heebiejeebie Mon 29-Jul-13 19:42:45

On what grounds could you consciencously object to juries? Because you're committed to Ducking stools or coin tossing?

specialsubject Mon 29-Jul-13 19:47:08

exactly. Always easy to complain about a system - IF you are lucky enough to live in a country that allows complaint.

juries aren't perfect but they are a lot better than the alternatives.

DameFanny Mon 29-Jul-13 19:48:39

Yabu, unless you're against the idea of a fair trial?

ComposHat Mon 29-Jul-13 19:48:40

The judge was remarkably lenient on the pair of clowns.

OP YABU. The possibility of being called up for jury service is a price you pay for living in a democracy with a (relatively) transparent judicial system. It is a civic duty and should be taken as seriously as that implies.

OP if you were put on trial for a serious offence, would you rather be tried in public and the verdict decided upon by a jury of your peers or tried by some government 'officials' who have a vested interest in seeing you convicted, (a la Guantanamo Bay)?

Thought so.

stargirl1701 Mon 29-Jul-13 19:51:16

YABU. Jury trial is one of our most important freedoms. It is an honour to serve.

Sinkingfeeling Mon 29-Jul-13 19:51:18

YABU. Juries in this country are selected randomly to represent a cross-section of society, idiots and all.

TiggyD Mon 29-Jul-13 19:53:22

If you want a jury to represent people in this country then you're going to sometimes have utter dick heads in the jury.

TiggyD Mon 29-Jul-13 19:53:52

x post with Sinky

JacqueslePeacock Mon 29-Jul-13 19:54:44

Please explain "conscientious objection" to jury service.

Bumpotato Mon 29-Jul-13 19:57:16

There should be an exemption box to tick that says "I'm too stupid for jury service"

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 29-Jul-13 19:58:25



HollyBerryBush Mon 29-Jul-13 20:02:39

the object of a trial by jury is that you are tried by your peers. Frankly an 18yo nor a 70yo are my peers. So its all a bit pointless.

However I do agree that there should be professional jurors. There are some idiots out there - and very shades of Tony Hancock, my mate was on jury service at Belmarsh - they convicted one on the grounds that his post code was dodgy and acquitted another because it Friday and they wanted to go home.

missedith01 Mon 29-Jul-13 20:06:16


IncrediblePhatTheInnkeepersCat Mon 29-Jul-13 20:11:32


Also, by your logic, people should be free to disregard any rules (or laws) because they disagree with them, without consequence! I hope you can see the flaw with this. If you disagree with a rule, law or system then campaign for change. It doesn't give anyone the licence to just ignore it and think that means they don't get a consequence.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 29-Jul-13 20:12:39


stargirl1701 Mon 29-Jul-13 20:16:11

Professional jurors?!!!! Dear God, abandon democracy now.

nickymanchester Mon 29-Jul-13 20:16:38

If you read the link in the OP, then the jurors weren't behaving like that because they didn't want to be there. They made those comments in public as they were GLAD that they had the opportunity to be on a jury and convict the type of person that they don't like.

It is much more likely that your typical MNetter will not wish to do jury duty and will be savvy enough to work out how they can get out of it.

There was an interesting case reported by the BBC earlier this year about how much the average juror understands the system:-

hiddenhome Mon 29-Jul-13 20:17:24

Governments get the population they deserve and years of dumbing people down has led to idiots like this - people who are incapable of taking things seriously.

People don't know how to be decent citizens any more sad

60sname Mon 29-Jul-13 20:18:50

Hollyberrybush 'peers' means equals, not just equal in age

Onesleeptillwembley Mon 29-Jul-13 20:21:25

Ok, don't make people do jury duty, but have some other public duty instead. If they object to everything then they cannot have recourse to the public purse, NHS, or any other privilege of being a citizen (avoiding the word subject).

Xmasbaby11 Mon 29-Jul-13 20:23:33


MalcolmTuckersMum Mon 29-Jul-13 20:24:58

Round of applause to Bumpotato and hiddenhome

<<<wanders off wondering about 'bum potatoes'>>>

mumblechum1 Mon 29-Jul-13 20:27:10

I agree with Onesleep. If people really can't be bothered to do JS then they should have to do some other community service in its place.

(easy for me to say, though, I have a life-long exemption due to former employment).

Onesleeptillwembley Mon 29-Jul-13 20:28:14

Me too, Mumble, but I would gladly do it.

Forgetfulmog Mon 29-Jul-13 20:28:54

OP seriously??? YABVVVU.

I just don't get why anyone would do what they did, especially the whole posting comments on fb, ffs!

bluesbaby Mon 29-Jul-13 20:35:46

Holly your mates might have told you that but Ican guarantee you they would have to have had proper justification for the final decision.

bluesbaby Mon 29-Jul-13 20:42:22

The case before mine (on jury) got thrown out because a juror befriended the defendant on the lunch break and told him the feedback from other jurors! So stupid!

LillethTheCat Mon 29-Jul-13 20:46:41

Id love to go on Jury service. Maybe one day

DameFanny Mon 29-Jul-13 20:55:48

Frankly Holly I'm judging you by the company you keep

ReindeerBollocks Mon 29-Jul-13 20:58:31

Mumblechum - the Government changed the law to allow members of the legal profession to sit on a jury, so you may not be exempt after all.

Secondly, I think that jury duty is a very important public service, and should be taken seriously, plus it is trial by peers, but this means a cross section of society, not people who are similar in age nor other background features. These idiots who abused JD deserve everything they get.

However, there has been discussions about making professional jurors for complex fraud trials, in which trial juries often get confused and unable to understand the terminology. I know some of the barristers struggle with those cases due to the complexity, so it would make sense to have a professional jury in these cases, who were neutral but would be able to understand the legal issues and financial issues of such frauds.

In all other cases jury duty should exist and using these people as examples serves to show that jury duty should be taken seriously.

HollyBerryBush Mon 29-Jul-13 21:09:11

'peers' means equals, not just equal in age

I know that - I was avoiding saying what I was really thinking grin on grounds of inverted snobbery

And there was a movement to introduce professional jurors at the time I studied law. I happen to agree with it.

mumblechum1 Mon 29-Jul-13 21:13:04

Mumblechum - the Government changed the law to allow members of the legal profession to sit on a jury, so you may not be exempt after all.

Yes, I know, but I also used to work for the Ministry of Justice, so am still exempt.

I think smile

Onesleeptillwembley Mon 29-Jul-13 21:14:13

Think you may be, Mumble that's my situation.

HollyBerryBush Mon 29-Jul-13 21:14:29

Are you damefanny I guess I'm ok because shes dead now. Hope that cheers you up a bit and I can guarantee I'm resocialised adequately

ReindeerBollocks Mon 29-Jul-13 21:17:59

blush yes, still exempt then! I just assumed otherwise.

That shows how stupid I am for making assumptions. Sorry about that.

beatback Mon 29-Jul-13 21:30:51

If you were Unfortunate to have to go to Crown Court (Not your Fault) or innocent of the charges and your fate was in the hands of 12 people on a jury with 3 people half a sleep, 1 person texting 2 people who cant speak english properly, or understand what is being said. Another person who does not like your hair colour and 1 person with a chip on his shoulder and your fate is left in the hands of people like that then it really is pot luck whether you are convicted. Even though you may be totally innocent and this is one reason (Another Thread) the Teacher who pushed youths in to a bush pled guilty at Magistrates Court. He was not prepared to risk the possibilty of a much stiffer Sentence. If his case had these type of people on the Jury any type of outcome could have been possible.

DameFanny Mon 29-Jul-13 21:32:21

The point is Holly did you SIOB when she told you or think "fair enough"?

sonlypuppyfat Mon 29-Jul-13 21:38:21

My worry about being called up for jury duty is what if I couldn't understand what was going on eg a complex fraud case or something like that.

mumblechum1 Mon 29-Jul-13 21:48:39

More danger of dying of boredom, sonlypuppy grin.

gallicgirl Mon 29-Jul-13 21:50:28

I have a relative who Is a crown court clerk and she thinks there should be a minimum education level for jurors on fraud cases. They cost thousands and take ages because evidence has to be explained to jurors.
Sometimes the fraud cases are declared mistrials because the jurors don't understand the complexities and are unable to make decisions. Professional jurors are a step too far though.

Let's hope the sentence for contempt comes with a citizenship course.

beatback Mon 29-Jul-13 21:53:36

Imagine you are Red Haired Northener called Tyler/Chardonnay and you have this mis fourtune to have "Katie Hopkins" as Foreman of the Jury.

prettybird Mon 29-Jul-13 22:00:46

I've had to serve on a jury twice and recently been called a third time (but fortunately was discharged without ever having to go in, as it was High Court so had the potential to be a long one) within the last 17 years. It's a pain - but it is a civic duty.

I do get the impression though that so many people are now being exempted that people like dh (4 times in 18 years) and me get called repeatedly - or maybe it's just bad luck. hmm

SisterMonicaJoan Mon 29-Jul-13 22:03:48

If juries so not understand the complexity of cases such a fraud, then the prosecuting team are not really doing their job. It is the Crown's repsonsibilty to present the case so a layman can understand it, so it is seen to be transparent. I obviously appreciate that not everyone will "get it" but if most of the jury do, then the presentation of the case was adequate.

Professional juries worry me, it's slippery slope if we start allowing them.

I think it's worth mentioning that juries can be the last bastion to unjust laws and the verdicts of the jury can sometimes show where the law is lacking.

IShallCallYouSquishy Mon 29-Jul-13 22:07:27

I bloody loved jury duty. I want to do it again!

IShallCallYouSquishy Mon 29-Jul-13 22:07:44


beatback Mon 29-Jul-13 22:10:32

You need to have people on Jury"s who have at least the abilty to reason and listen to what is being said. Someone said "Professional Jury"s are an affront to Demorcacy and would prefer to be Tried by a Jury made up of characters from Hancocks Half hour or Halfwits from today.

Bowlersarm Mon 29-Jul-13 22:13:48

Do you think by now YABU OP?

DoJo Mon 29-Jul-13 22:25:37

YABU - it's a privilege to live in a country where the legal system allows the involvement of the individual.

StuntGirl Mon 29-Jul-13 22:31:31

"If you were Unfortunate to have to go to Crown Court (Not your Fault) or innocent of the charges and your fate was in the hands of 12 people on a jury with 3 people half a sleep, 1 person texting 2 people who cant speak english properly, or understand what is being said."

Beatback, those who don't speak or understand English are exempt. For the very obvious reasons.

OP and everyone who agreed with you YABVU.

Chippednailvarnish Mon 29-Jul-13 22:40:54

I did two weeks jury service earlier this year, I hated it and it cost me a fortune.
With that in mind OP, I think your post is one of the most stupid things I have read on MN for a long time. How on earth would you select a jury of the defendents peers if jury service was optional?

And the four jurys I sat on didn't have a single incident of "3 people half a sleep, 1 person texting 2 people who cant speak english properly, or understand what is being said".

prettybird Mon 29-Jul-13 22:41:00

If you're in Scotland, you need fifteen people for the jury! maybe that's why I've been called so often

ComposHat Mon 29-Jul-13 22:43:11

yep I've be called numerous times. I live in Scotland. I think a higher proportion of cases are tried by jury in Scotland too.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Mon 29-Jul-13 22:48:40

I think there are some people who do struggle with the idea of jury duty - as they feel only god should judge for example.

In WW2 those who were concientous objectors were generally sent to drive ambulances somewhere incredibly dangerous (where you were far more likely to die than by fighting on average) which meant that only those who truly did object declared themselves as objectors.

There should be a similar for juror objectors. You can be a juror or you can go and clean the loos in the courthouse for two weeks - that sort of thing.

I don't think there should be professional jurors but I do think that those who are keen to serve should be more likely to get picked. Maybe have their name put in the system twice for example - so that instead of getting called every 20 years on average they are called every 10 years.

prettybird Mon 29-Jul-13 22:59:06

If only it were every 20 years - dh and I seem to be called every 5 to 6 years sad

Once I got called after 4 years - was able to delay that and further delay it be telling them that at the point that I was eligible to be called again, I would be breast feeding and would therefore require facilities to express and store my EBM grin For some reason they left it another two years before calling me again wink

Mumoftwoyoungkids Mon 29-Jul-13 23:11:35

My parents - aged 65 and 61 - have been called 3 times between them. Dh and I (aged 36 and 33) have never been called and nor has db (aged 31). So of the 135 years of eligibility we have had we have only been called 3 times - once every 45 years.

We are all in England.

I've just googled and can't find an answer to how often though.

DespicableWee Mon 29-Jul-13 23:12:39

mumoftwoyoungkids if you put your name in extra times, do you get an extra wheelie bin or your pot holes fixed quicker, like a sort of tesserae?

I'm not allowed to do jury service (bipolar therefore ineligible):

a person would be ineligible for jury service if they are:
- concerned with the administration of justice, or
- are a member of the Forces, or
- are suffering from a mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health (NI) order 1986, or
- they are unable to understand the English language.

And actually I feel quite bad about it. I was called and would have done it but had to tick the box. It's an odd feeling when one of your civic responsibilities is taken away from you (although I do understand it. I wouldn't want me in one of my manic phases on my jury grin) At least I'm allowed to vote....

prettybird Mon 29-Jul-13 23:22:45

I first got called when I was c.35. They've made up for it since though! grin

In Scotland (don't know about England), you "have the right to be excused from jury service, for example, because of your occupation if you are a politician, a doctor, a minister, in the armed forces or have served on a jury in the last five years."

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 29-Jul-13 23:37:04


Its your duty as a member of society

Norfolknway Mon 29-Jul-13 23:44:08

I'm waiting for the day I get asked.

It all sounds so exciting grin clearly I have a very dull life

SeeJaneWin Mon 29-Jul-13 23:49:06

Unfortunately, a lot of people a) do not take serious things seriously, b) do not understand full implications of the internet, c) are prone to overshare.

They are victims of the age. And far from the last.

ComposHat Mon 29-Jul-13 23:53:07

it isn't exciting at all (not on my case anyway) it was held in the sheriffs court and was a bunch of teenage boys who got into a ruck.

The defendant was found 'not proven' as the copper misrecorded a description in his notebook and there was some confusion about who saw what. In popular lore a verdict of not proven is thought to imply 'not guilty and don't fo it again.'

thebody Tue 30-Jul-13 00:00:13

I served at 18 and everyone there took it seriously,

don't get the description of some here.

it's a duty and a price well worth paying.

I don't want 'professional juries' thank you, there are enough bloody daft judges. trust the public.

RiceBurner Tue 30-Jul-13 00:21:05


Remotecontrolduck Tue 30-Jul-13 02:56:19


People need to grow up and take some responsibility. 'Don't want to be there'?! Move somewhere else then, if you live in the UK you have a duty to do.

I can't believe some people.

MidniteScribbler Tue 30-Jul-13 03:10:49

I got called up recently, but unfortunately can't do it this time around. People like to complain about having to do their civic duty, but are quite happy to put their hand out and take, or to use services and facilities provided for public use. I would like to see civics classes in schools as a part of the curriculum.

I live in Scotland, I was exempted as I was a Reporter on a local newspaper, so regularly covered the court and explained that I would not be impartial if I recognised the accused and their previous form.

However, I would not be exemt from High Court cases, less chance if being local you see.


Mumoftwoyoungkids Tue 30-Jul-13 05:52:28


That's interesting that doctors are exempt in Scotland. They aren't in England. My best friend is a doctor and has done it. She had to excuse herself from the first case she was given as she worked in A&E at the time and had treated the accused in a way that would prejudice her. (The example she gave when telling me about it- although this isn' true - is that she had treated him for cuts from glass and the case was about a burglary through smashing a window.)

Exempting doctors would reduce the pool quite a bit I would have thought......

Ixia Tue 30-Jul-13 07:43:59

I was all for trial by jury, until I had to sit on a jury. Two of the jurors were rabidly anti-men and wanted to convict the defendent of a greater charge because he had admitted raising his voice to a woman. Another guy made comments about the child in the case, she was 15 but 'a right tart' in his words.
The thought of being tried by people like that chills me to the bone.

The other terrifying thing was that people involved with the case shouted and heckled us when we left the building, they saw the cars we drove and I guess could probably find out where we lived.

It wasn't interesting or exciting, just downright bloody grim.

LondonMan Tue 30-Jul-13 09:06:36

It's never happened, but the possibility of having to do jury service first occurred to me at a time when I had a large mortgage. The prospect of several weeks of losing hundreds of pounds per day of self-employed earnings and my mortgage going unpaid didn't seem particularly reasonable to me. In fact I was in negative equity and I assumed not paying the mortgage would have meant repossession and bankruptcy.

corinthian Tue 30-Jul-13 09:45:47

It is very hard to get exemption from jury service these days though you can postpone for up to a year. I was called to do it when 7 months pregnant and that certainly wasn't ground for exemption and chose not to postpone as the jury service's attitude to childcare is that you can pay somebody to look after a baby for two weeks who has never met the baby before (besides the fact that finding good quality childcare with that sort of availability is obviously tough, or that you might still be breastfeeding). I certainly met one mother whose husband had used half of his annual leave for the year to look after their children while she was on jury service.

It was made very clear to us on repeated occasions that we shouldn't discuss anything on social media or research the case on the internet and to do so would be contempt of court. It was made less clear what we could discuss after the case had finished - obviously everything in the jury room is confidential but whether it was ok to say what sort of case you had been on etc.

Having been on a jury, my feeling was that it's not an ideal system, but, like democracy, I doubt there's a better one, and the vast majority of people took their role very seriously.

BMW6 Tue 30-Jul-13 09:59:22

Having been on a jury, my feeling was that it's not an ideal system, but, like democracy, I doubt there's a better one, and the vast majority of people took their role very seriously.

Ditto from me. Did Jury service aged 19 and we all took it very seriously - if one of us had been mucking about we would have collectively challenged them to behave responsibly.

flatpackhamster Tue 30-Jul-13 10:04:31


And there was a movement to introduce professional jurors at the time I studied law. I happen to agree with it.

So basically the lawyers want lawyers to replace jurors. Which to me speaks volumes about the problem with the law profession.

I have no problem with doing it, would quite like to actually, but I simply can't afford to lose money on it as self employed.
I was excused the last time it came up, which would have cost me thousands. I am dreading it coming up again now I've got childcare to factor in as well.
Tbh if I wasn't excused I'd probably have to notify them that I would be a no-show and pay the fine.

Shrugged Tue 30-Jul-13 10:29:43

The OP is one of the stupidest things I have ever seen on this forum. And yes, the rest of us do get that it's a deeply inconvenient duty for probably the vast majority of us, dealing with work and childcare and involving significant financial sacrifices on both grounds. The stupidity of your sentiments still stands.

I done Jury Service about seven years ago and have just been called again, I have deferred this time but would like to get out of it as I hate the thought of having such a say in someones life, to the extent Im worrying already, I find it a real responsibility and worry if Ive made the right decision sad.

But, I strongly agree its the best system to have, having such a mix of people would equal fairest outcome.

bakingaddict Tue 30-Jul-13 10:45:19

I thought that a judge has legal juristriction to strike out and disregard a jury decision if the jury has so blatantly failed to grasp any legal points made or if there has been any evidence of jury tampering.

My point is that a jury decision mightn't be such a finality and that people aren't being sent to jail simply because the jury took exception to the colour of their hair or other nebulous reasons. I'm not a legal person so I am open to be corrected

IsotopeMe Tue 30-Jul-13 10:52:59

Just out of interest, if his fb was private, how do they know what he wrote? Do you have to hand over your login details? And how can they track what he searched on google?

rainforestlife Tue 30-Jul-13 12:10:48

HeartsTrumpDiamonds there has been a change which means that 'mentally disordered persons' (!) aren't automatically ineligible - there was a Mind campaign about it.

I was exempt from Jury Service a few years ago as I also have MH issues. It was a relief, to be honest, as I'm not sure I would have coped with the demands, especially if it was a distressing trial, and I had trouble just coping with day to day life. Now I'm a bit concerned that I might be called up, although Mind says that you can still get a letter from your psych if you don't feel able to do it, but it's not automatic as it was before, so I worry that they might not accept it.

SilverOldie Tue 30-Jul-13 12:23:25


They deserved what they got.

I've only done jury service once, didn't enjoy it but still did it. Wasn't helped by the jury foreman morphing into Hitler once appointed, trying to bully jurors who didn't go with the result he wanted.

Rainforest thank you! I'll have a look at that link. I didn't know it had changed. I hope you will be in a good place if and when you are called, but I also noticed that they say a letter from your GP would be acceptable too.

LOL at mentally disordered persons. I am not telling DH that one, he will use it against me grin

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Tue 30-Jul-13 15:30:14

Oh 'mentally disordered persons' I wonder if that is me, I got a letter this morning and really really do not want to go this will be my 2nd time.

IrisWildthyme Tue 30-Jul-13 15:34:38

YABU. Our system may not be perfect, but it's far preferable for the decision of guilt or innocence to rest with ordinary people than for employees of the state to get to decide. I would love to play my part in contributing to a democratic society by doing this service to my community (even though I'm sure it would be very boring).

Sending people to prison for NOT taking it seriously seems like a very sensible way to ensure people DO take it seriously.

cumfy Tue 30-Jul-13 15:48:55


But there's a corollary to all this isn't there ?

If juries are in practice composed of people like the OP and those just convicted, to what extent can and do juries really deliver just verdicts ?

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