Some of my regular readers will know that I have been on Jury Service for the last 2 weeks. I am about to go into deliberation with my 11 fellow jurors on my latest case and, as I was also on a Jury last week, I have seen a little of how the Great British Justice System works (or doesn’t).
I believe that in essence and in theory we have a system which is fair and democratic. In practice however I have my concerns but I will save these for another day.
My main concern however is the lack of on-site support for jurors who have to listen to evidence which is often disturbing, distressing, graphic, shocking, and unpleasant and who are unable to discuss cases with fellow jurors, jurors-in-waiting or friends and family unless they want to be held in contempt of court with all the penalties that arise from that. Yes, there is a link between the court system and the Samaritans, and you can pick up a leaflet at the court (if you see it). But I don’t think this is adequate and from my experience over the last two weeks, more needs to be done to support those who need to offload their concerns.
I understand that there will be important issues such as confidentiality to consider, but last week, faced with a jury quite clearly in distress, many in tears and having had countless sleepless nights, I am convinced that something more needs to be done to recognise and deal with these concerns.
I will be raising it with the court in due course and I will let you know what they say.