Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Last week I had to turn up for jury service orientation. I guess like most people, for me, being involved in the justice system is not a regular occurence in the day to day living experience. When the letter turned up in the post, my first thought was good grief how the devil could I get a speeding ticket, even the scooter only just hits 65kph.!? Well the relief at not being caught for speeding was replaced with "I have to do this." once the letter was opened and it was my Jury Service notification. In fact the first thought/emotion was an odd one to put into words. How to describe a feeling/opinion of onus, obligation, right, and priviledge that comes from being an Australian Citizen to myself is the best way to explain why I thought, "I have to do this."
Make no mistake Jury Service for the next month is a serious inconvenience for me with a 240knm round trip to the court, together with October being a month where I have a lot happening work wise. I am sure if I put on enough of an act as to the inconvenience it would be possible to be excused. But that would make the words that ran through my mind, "If I was in court, I'd like someone like me on the jury" a total lie. Being a chest beating patriot full of national fervour for Australia is not one of my traits, that does not mean I do not love our country and all it has been through and what those experiences contribute to our national ethos.
I have two past family members who were casualties of WW 1 and WW II, I believe that I owe their memories something in action, besides acknowledging ANZAC Day and Remeberance Day. Then there is that Aussie phrase "getting a Fair Go" The crimes that had many convicts transported to Australia even though the social standards and conditions of the era were far removed from the conditions we live in. It would be right to say they did not get a fair go. A lot of Australia's social policies and services in place today, I feel are a reaction to what people had to live through way back then.
Today a week later I have just returned home after being selected to serve on a jury for a case. The selection process of numbers being drawn out of a box and waiting to hear the numbers was quite an experience. And I did not call BINGO when mine came out. If anything, the thing about being involved is the UNKNOWN, you don't know what is going to happen when you turn up and now I am sitting in a jury all is fine.
The court staff are tremendous, from the orientation day to now the assistance and availability to inform the jury members of what is happening and the finer points of jury service. Most important is not to discuss the case or be put in a position where it may be considered this has been done outside the jury room. I am amazed at some of the actions that have been described as examples of what past jurors have done and causing trials to be cancelled.
This is not a social gathering around a coffee table discussing an item of interest or gossiping about someone. The whole point of the court is for a decision to be made in the system that represents part of the foundation of personal rights for citizens. It is no tv show with drama and plot played by actors. Yet in the past some dills (I have some far more appropriate epithets I could use) have treated it as such.
This bloggie is actually my words on the experience and is very cathartic and beneficial for me after getting home from the court today. There are a few more days to go yet and this is my way of getting into the routine. I know that thinking is one of the major parts of my day to day life. Creating ideas and exploring the progress and possible outcomes of my work require that. In jury service that is part of my nature that assists me in doing it properly. Yet thinking up a film plot, standup comedy show and professional idiocy have a finite point. Once the film is made or the act is off the stage their reality is finished because they are just creations for entertainment and to sometimes plant a seed of another point of view. This is real life.
Thankyou for your time and attention, Geoff