Saturday, April 07, 2007

Civic Duty - Part 2

After having spent the best part of day one with my nose in my book it wasn't looking too healthy on the old jury selection front. So I arrived for day two armed once more with my trusty tome and settled in for another day of reading, secure in the knowledge that I would not be disturbed by the class idiot who fortunately for me had been selected on day one. Alas it was not to be, as ten minutes later an usher appeared and my name was called.

After we were sworn in the judge addressed us. He explained what would be occurring, but most importantly he told us when we would be breaking for lunch. Then the prosecution Barrister stood up and outlined the case against the defendant. I obviously can't go into detail but suffice to say that it was a case of wounding. Then the defence Barrister stood up and outlined the case for the defendant.

Throughout the course of the day a procession of witnesses came and went, their evidence duly picked over by each of the Barristers and the evidence was distributed to the jury. Full colour glossy pictures, witness statements, oh and a time lapse video to boot. And so it was time for the defence to call their witness... their one and only witness.

A rather dapper gentleman strode into the court room and took his place in the stand. He reminded me somewhat of 50 cent dressed up for a funeral, he did however have the obligatory gold chains and rings. He faced the jury and glared, not just any glare a malicious glare, (I come a cross this rather a lot in my line of work, it is intended to put people 'in their place', let them know who is the boss so to speak), as he continued to glare I could sense some of my fellow jurors shifting in their seats uneasily. I was just considering giving him a smile and wave, you know to lighten the mood a little, when the defence Barrister began his questioning.

Initially he gave only yes or no answers but then he obviously began to get into the swing of things. He was asked about the events of the day leading up to the event. Then he was asked to relay what had occurred. He told the court that he had been stood some four or five feet away from the defendant when the event had occurred but that he could see quite clearly what had happened. At this point I should perhaps point out that the defendant was claiming that he acted in self defence and that the claimant had struck first.

"So you had clear sight of the event, is that correct?" asked the defence Barrister

"Yes, I saw it all" replied the witness

"So did you actually see the Landlord throw a punch?"

"Yes,"

"So he definitely threw a punch at the defendant, thank you. Who threw the first punch"

"Bill, (the defendant),"

"Are you sure about that?" asked the rather rattled defence Barrister

"Absolutely my friend it was definitely Bill"

It was at this point that the Judge asked the defence Barrister if he was really sure that he would like to continue with his questioning. He simply shook his head and sat down.

In a masterful stroke the prosecution Barrister rose.

"Your Honour, the prosecution has no further questions for this witness, however I would like to thank my learned friend here for his assistance"

As we in the jury and the rest of the court room choked back our stifled giggles the judge adjourned proceedings until the following morning for the summing up.

The following morning my fellow jurors and I were taken to the deliberation room. Here we had to hand in our mobile phones to be locked into a drawer, just in case we should feel the need to phone a friend for help, and the door to the room was locked behind us. It was only at this point that I could really take stock of my fellow 'peers'. A young woman who would remain silent throughout, clearly showing withdrawal symptoms from lack of her mobile, an elderly chap who must have been dozing during the trial as he had to be reminded on several occasions of the evidence,and then there was the 'falterer'. There's always one, they just can't make a decision. Even if the evidence is there in black and white, even if the defendants own witness has categorically dropped him in it. The 'falterer' will not take responsibility for the verdict. Fortunately even with these hindrances the deliberation was mercifully short.

We were escorted back to court to present our verdict. 'Guilty'. The judge having nodded his agreement proceeded to recount the previous convictions against the defendant, which included numerous violent offences . I think the falterer can rest easy.





18 at confession:

Mamma said...

Luckily for me my sibling's run ins with the law always seem to preclude me from participating in such fun.

Beki said...

This could all be done much quicker with my system.

Parade the accused in front of my Gran and he is sent down if she "reckons nowt to the look of 'im"!!

St Jude said...

Mamma: You are not missing anything ;0}

Beki: Your Gran sounds like my kind of 'gal', I have to rely on intuition a lot in my field.

Kim Ayres said...

What a beauty! Although I guess that your courtroom drama blogging is now retricted to 2 entries rather than giving you enough material for a John Grisham novel.

Stinkypaw said...

Cool! I'm sure it made it easier that it was a "repeat" offender... Even if it might be boring I'm sure there were some parts that might have been somewhat interesting...

Beth said...

An amusing but also kind of a sad tale.
And now back to your "real" life...

Chris Pittock said...

What a Muppet. It certainly made everyone's decision easier.

I suspect there are rather a lot of simliar cases brought before Judges up and down this land each year. It makes me laugh that some people's idea of a "Good Night Out" involves getting paraletic and starting a fight. It doesn't appeal to me. Yes, I do drink, but I'm an adult and I'm responsible for my actions, drunk or sober.

Why can't these rather stupid people behave themselves and let the Police do some proper work.

Pendullum said...

So glad you got your real life back... Thank you for sharing the insights of the moment... and glad it made it on the blog with the St. Jude classic observations!!!!

Kim said...

lol, you captured the pedantic nature of a courtroom trial to perfection.

I'm so happy for you that your duty is over, well done.

Attila The Mom said...

Hehehe. Oh dear.

Rhonda said...

I am now feeling guilty for shirking my civic duty, even though I had a valid medical excuse. This was a fun read and it's nice to hear your voice again . . .

Attila The Mom said...

Did the judge throw YOU in the slammer too?

xox

Kim Ayres said...

So have you been arrested for contempt of court by publsihing this? Is that why we haven't ehard anything from you for so long? Do we need to start a "Free the Tyke" campaign?

TopChamp said...

ooooooh. Really hate the idea of jury service. received a letter a month or two ago. doesn't sound too bad for you though.

Charlie said...

Oh where oh where has our little tyke gone,

Oh where oh where can she be?

Sven said...

"I was just considering giving him a smile and wave, you know to lighten the mood a little..."

It's probably best that you didn't stick your tongue out at him either.

OneEar said...

"Guilty" seems so judgmental. Couldn't you have found him "In Err."

Nikki said...

*sigh*

Be well, St Jude.

 
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