For the last three weeks I’ve been moaning and complaining about the fact I had been summonsed for jury duty. My summons was for the day we had scheduled to lunch what has turned out to be my biggest project at work and basically it couldn’t have been for a worse time. I’d already postponed once, as my initial call up was to be around the date of Bert’s birth so I bit the bullet, told my boss and off I went.
It started off well, we had the introduction to the whole process and explanation of how the day would unfold. There were only four trials scheduled for that day so there weren’t too many jurors in the pool. Odds on no one was going to get out of that room without at being empanelled at least once.
Funny thing about odds….
The first call up came mid morning. 27 jurors to be selected by random draw. Somehow I managed to dodge that lot although, just as they were about to leave, a message came through that there was a hold up so everyone went back to relaxing. Some played pool, some caught up on work, some seemed to have never ending phone batteries but I was probably the only person who spent the entire morning catching up on podcasts.
At 12:15 we were told we could all take a two hour lunch (I knew I should have studied hard and done Law) so I wandered off to catch up with Daniel and Miss Marita over lunch. I wandered back, trying to find an internet caf? so I could check my mail (gotta get me a laptop) but finding none.
45 minutes in to more podcasts we were all summed to the jury pool room again. However this time the supervisor wasn’t there, and there was no ballot box. Instead we were greeted by the Juries Commissioner himself who explained that today was a very odd day – we were being discharged. Of the four scheduled trials one was adjourned, two plead guilty and the other civil trial was settled prior to getting to court. Apparently this hardly ever happens.
He gave a magnificent talk on how important the jury system was, and it made me feel suitably guilty for wanting so much not be there. He put a very human face on what can appear to be a very imposing institution and if I had have heard him speak prior to going I wouldn’t have had any qualms at all.
So now I’m free for two years, I have my $36 cheque for a days work and I’m back to my job on Monday. I really have to learn to stress less.