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Jury service

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Jury service

Old 30th Jul 2013, 08:20
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Jury service

Two jurors jailed for two months yesterday for contempt of court. One for one for sending a Facebook message that he wanted to “F*** up a paedophile” after discovering that he was on the trial of an alleged sex offender, the other because he used the internet to research the case he was sitting on as a juror at Kingston Crown Court."

The second juror, Joseph Beard, was frustrated because of lengthy delays in the trial process and wanted to be back at work to earn money to pay for his wedding. He will now lose his job.

---

I've got a lot of sympathy for Mr Beard. Two months, of which at least one will be behind bars, is well over the top. Expense on jury service are capped at around £70 per day (last time I looked) and anyone self employed can easily lose several thousand pounds during a trial of a couple of weeks.
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Old 30th Jul 2013, 08:25
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"Joseph Beard"

Should have excused himself by making some comment before the trial started.
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Old 30th Jul 2013, 09:07
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Apart from personal integrity, I fail to see how any jury can be seen to be fair these days as the ease at which either the juror directly, or through another can 'research' those on trial and thus render the jury verdict above and beyond approach.

Obviously the guy who got a 2 month sentence for his actions has been used to show others that it isn't the done thing. Sadly for him, he's unemployed and will have a criminal record and no doubt his beloved will turn on him as well. Cynical ba$tard that I am.....



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Old 30th Jul 2013, 09:10
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I can't understand the need to "research".

If I ever ended up in Jury duty and could'n't get out of it,
I'd just take it as time to relax and listen.
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Old 30th Jul 2013, 09:20
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I think the 'research' is simply human curiosity/boredom and with the world wide wait it's all too simple. Unless the jury is kept sterile for the length of a trial it just seems to be inevitable.



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Old 30th Jul 2013, 09:29
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This is hardly the first time this has happened. Jurors who are curious as to the likely effects of choosing to disobey the judge could always ... erm ... research the penalties on the internet before choosing whether to commit the crime.
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Old 30th Jul 2013, 09:49
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He probably didn't hear the judges instructions, as he was texting or surfing at the time (my supposition), and came close to perverting the course of justice.

No sympathy.

(and I don't think a contempt violation results in a criminal record, it's an administrative matter of the court. Happy to be corrected though)
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Old 30th Jul 2013, 10:01
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and I don't think a contempt violation results in a criminal record, it's an administrative matter of the court. Happy to be corrected though
I would agree, but that fact that he will have spent time in jail would be perhaps regarded as a criminal record ? Happy to be corrected by well informed know it alls



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Old 30th Jul 2013, 10:02
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given the general inaccuracy of understanding by court lawyers of maths, science and statistics, and the common use of science based stats as evidence (eg DNA samples) it appears to me that in some cases it really requires a juror to do independent research to make sense of the nonsense statistics.
The way in which probabilities are handled makes it essential that all jurors in cases relying on statistics (eg DNA evidence) should prime themselves with a good understanding of the subject

One in a million chance does NOT mean there is only one in a million...
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Old 30th Jul 2013, 10:04
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When I eventually had to do jury service a few years ago (having had legitimate work-related reasons to avoid it on two previous occasions) we were all warned very clearly as to what we could not do in the initial briefing before being sworn in, and the penalties for not following the law were made clear. IIRC there were also very clear written rules on the paperwork calling me for jury service. We weren't allowed to take phones or any other device into the court or jury room, neither were we allowed to take any bit of paper out of the jury room, all our personal notes, copies of statements etc were looked after by the jury clerk.

The actions of both these jurors were a deliberate and flagrant contempt of court; they knew what they were doing was prohibited by law yet they both still chose to take the risk. I've no sympathy with either of them.

I do understand the loss of earnings issue, and that it is a serious problem for the self-employed, in particular. However, I believe that there is a route by which someone summonsed for jury service can appeal against it on the basis of financial hardship. I know from personal experience that those in certain professions can be exempted on the basis of their employer making a request, too.
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Old 30th Jul 2013, 10:10
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MM wrote:

given the general inaccuracy of understanding by court lawyers of maths, science and statistics, and the common use of science based stats as evidence (eg DNA samples) it appears to me that in some cases it really requires a juror to do independent research to make sense of the nonsense statistics.
The way in which probabilities are handled makes it essential that all jurors in cases relying on statistics (eg DNA evidence) should prime themselves with a good understanding of the subject

One in a million chance does NOT mean there is only one in a million...
Absolutely not.

The role of the juror is to decide ONLY ON THE BASIS OF THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED IN COURT.

If one or other side fails to make it clear what the statistics quoted mean, then that is their failing. The jurors task is to weigh up the evidence that they have heard in court, ignore anything they may have read or heard in the media and decide on guilt or innocence.

In the case of statistical evidence, for example, if the prosecution make the case that there is a "one in a million" chance that the defendant didn't commit the offence, then it is up to the defence to rebut that and provide evidence to clarify to the jury as to what those statistics actually mean. It is absolutely not the jurors role to go and look this up.

Last edited by VP959; 30th Jul 2013 at 10:11.
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Old 30th Jul 2013, 11:11
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In the case of statistical evidence, for example, if the prosecution make the case that there is a "one in a million" chance that the defendant didn't commit the offence, then it is up to the defence to rebut that and provide evidence to clarify to the jury as to what those statistics actually mean. It is absolutely not the jurors role to go and look this up.
Quite correct. However, what if the juror has the knowledge and experience to correctly interpret the statistics. Surely he has a duty to explain them to the other jurors. After all, all the jurors would be applying their life experiences to decide if one side or the other is to be believed.
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Old 30th Jul 2013, 12:04
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"Twelve good men, and true", used to be the maxim.

Nowadays it seems to be "A disparate group of citizens, with a few plonkers thrown in to make up the numbers".
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Old 30th Jul 2013, 12:12
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The worst element of this story is that the first juror had clearly already made up his mind up about the case before it even started.

At the risk of sounding like a lily-livered liberal (and speaking as someone who was a juror on a case about indecent assault on a young girl many years ago) I wonder if, because of people's views about "paedophiles", the burden of proof has diminished in these cases? Do jurors go into the courtroom assuming the defendant is guilty because of the horror they feel about the putative crime?
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Old 30th Jul 2013, 14:32
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Expense on jury service are capped at around £70 per day (last time I looked)
In Scotland, it's about £65 a day for the first 5 days, £130 for days 6-100 and £230 thereafter for loss of earnings. You can also claim for travel costs and things like childminding.

Excusal from jury duty can be for a wide range of reasons, like holidays booked, medical conditions, study, or business reasons. You can apply to the jury officer in advance of the trial diet, to the clerk of court when you're cited to attend or, if you're selected then realise that you know the accused or his/her victim &c, the clerk will inform the judge who will then decide on excusal. Plenty of opportunity to be excused if you have a genuine reason.
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Old 30th Jul 2013, 15:17
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You can apply to the jury officer in advance of the trial diet

You have to slim first?
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Old 30th Jul 2013, 15:24
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I will never be selected for jury service because I would never believe a single word that any policeman ever says.
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Old 30th Jul 2013, 15:53
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Ecletic - That's a shame. There's a lot of bent coppers, probably more than people realise, but they're outnumbered by the good ones.

I did jury service a while back and it was hugely interesting in many ways. The first case was a of chap being done for burglary. The police had done their homework (including DNA) and he hadn't.

It was handy being a local for this one because some of his lies about where he was at the time of the burglary were uneasily unpicked by the bulk of us on the jury that knew the area. Guilty. Four years.

The second case was a guy accused of sexual assault. Why the CPS went forward with this case I will never know. The prosecution police contradicted each other, the two main witnesses did the same.

The defence had done their work this time, including video evidence.

I was jury foreman and when we retired I asked for a show of hands for guilty or not guilty. Unanimous. Not guilty.

So I played Devil's Advocate to give the girls a chance. Nope. Not guilty.

Both decisions were right. I am convinced of that. I felt that all the jurors were aware of the seriousness of what they were doing. One didn't want to be there, he was a musician and was losing work and money. But he did his job and at the end said it was humbling (but that was enough thank you).

Just my experience.
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Old 30th Jul 2013, 20:57
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For anyone interested in the full facts: HM Attorney General v Kasim Davey and Joseph Beard: Judgment



angels

Interesting and informative post.


FL
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Old 30th Jul 2013, 21:26
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Does the UK have the concept of "jury nullification"?
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