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Wednesday, February 27, 2013


As I told you previously I've been called up to do Jury Duty.
All last week and till the end of this week I've been on call.

To tell you the truth I've been very interested in it all.

The worst part so far has been having to get back into the groove of early rising as when I am called in I have to join all the other commuters for the slow peak hour trip into the city.
I live in an outer suburb so I'm often first on the bus which means I can pick my seat for the one and a half hour trip.

I'm not very good on buses. They have slippery seats and I've got short legs and going round corners fast can be quite an adventure ( for me and the person sitting next to me !!!). 

After spending one and a half hours traveling and worrying you'll be late because of traffic, you enter the new, impressive, modern but rather stark and bare, high rise building that is the District/Supreme Court building.
Next you go through a security check then up in the lift to the jury area where you wait
  P. A. T. I. E. N. T. L. Y
for about an hour with about 100 other prospective jurors.

No-one talks much..... well not on the first day anyway, and finally a court official moves to the front of the room ( a Deputy Sheriff or some other title ) and tells you what to expect during the jury selection process.
where to walk,
all about the oath and the choices you have to cater for religious beliefs ..... or not,
and  how you mustn't be offended if you are challenged and discarded.

All this takes another half an hour !

By now the morning's almost gone and you still haven't set foot in a court room !

Finally 28 names are called and you file into a court room with the accused and barristers and the Judge where the jury selection begins.

Each side has the opportunity to challenge ( and therefore remove potential jurors) eight times during this process until a jury of twelve is empaneled. Thus the need for at least 28 people. ( 2x8+12=28)

Ah! Finally we are ready for the case to begin...... but wait!

Before we can proceed all the witnesses must be named so that the prospective jurors can see if they have any reason to excuse themselves from the case because they know /know of any of them.

Finally, all is ready and those not selected may leave and go home.

By this time it is time for morning tea and a recess is called while everybody has a cuppa and goes to the loo before the work begins.
If you have been empaneled you go along every day till your case has concluded
but if not you are potentially on call the next day.... and the next.... and the next....
going through the same process until you are finally on a jury or the two weeks is up.

The temperature of the aircon in the whole building is quite cold and I imagine if you had to wear a robe like this
and one of these on your head
in Queensland heat you'd want the aircon down cold too !!
So there you have it.
I've done my duty without ever actually making it to a jury.
I'm a bit disappointed, I would have liked to see the whole process through to the end of a case
and the pay for turning up ?
$42.80 a day !


  1. Pretty much the same gig here. Only we are on a train not a bus. We all talked before being called and there were no wigs here in the Windy City. We have to be on call for two full weeks here, but only get paid if we have to show up. Bet you are glad that is over.

  2. I guess thats $428.00 you have for fabric now!

  3. I have only read about Jury selection in the States. I have no idea how they select them in Australia or the UK (I don't know if you read how a high profile trial had to be abandoned in UK very recently because the judge decided the jury were too thick to carry on so dismissed them and declared a mis-trial?) Anyway, if I was ever called up for jury duty and was questioned by barristers as to my suitability I would unhesitatingly state that I was an unrepentent, chain smoking alcoholic with the attention span of an amoeba. Hopefully that would get me off.

  4. I did jury service in Sheffield about ten years ago and in the second case they elected me as the foreman - which gave my minuscule ego a boost. It was all very interesting and I am sorry you didn't actually get to serve.

  5. Another experience under your belt, Helsie!