23 May 2008

Checking in

Today was the third day I've been on jury duty (I was postponed from Monday till Tuesday) and it's been quite enjoyable. I was selected for panel on my first day and that trial lasted through yesterday as well, concluding this morning. After lunch I was selected again and have begun hearing another case, which should conclude tomorrow. Selection is completely random and done by computer.

It's been really interesting to see the whole legal process play out and to be a part of it. When we as a jury presented our verdict of Not Guilty in the trial that concluded today the defendent immediately burst into tears.

I can't stop staring at the barristers' and judge's wigs though - this is how they dress.

Monday is a bank holiday (public holiday) so there's no court and the the courts are closed on Tuesday as well as it's the queen's birthday, then I'm on duty again on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday unless I get stuck on a long-running case. They do warn you when initially selected, though, if the trial is going to be a long one. The Morecambe Bay trial (also tried at Preston Crown Court) ended up running for six months. The Harold Shipman trial (held at Sessions House, part of Preston Crown Court) ran for almost 4 months. The Jamie Bulger murder trial was also held there - I don't think I could have sat through that on a jury panel, it would have been too upsetting by far.

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