For the second time since we lived in Horsham, a bit over a month ago I received a letter requiring me to report for jury duty. The difference between this time and last: I’m no longer self-employed, so I don’t have a good reason not to attend. Ahh well, I am not one to shirk my civic duty, as inconvenient as it may be, and work gives 7 days off no-questions-asked for it, so I made arrangements to take the time off and responded to the form.
Then my service was delayed, twice. Then it was cancelled. Then I received an email that it was not cancelled, that cancellation email was a mistake. Then it got shifted again. What a drag!
Finally a day arrived where it was not cancelled, I show up on the Friday for the sole purpose of watching an orientation video, receiving a COVID RAT, and leaving. I return on the monday for the actual service, ensuring I arrived bright and early to hopefully get a spot in a nice corner near a power socket so I could do some work while waiting out my time.
No such luck, on multiple counts: first, we had assigned seats, so I was to sit where I was told. This left me with not only no power (no issue, I could work for some time at least), but absolutely zero privacy and so I wasn’t comfortable doing any work on my work laptop with folks who might be shoulder-surfing. So I let work know my availability would be way lower than I’d expected.
Next up, due to a quirk in my very-quiet-county’s court system: we would be heading in to the court in about an hour, and if we were not selected there would be no additional cases so we can leave. Hurrah!
In to the court, hear the particulars of the case, and no I’ve got no good cause to be excused, I don’t know any of these people. As they went through the ballot box selecting jurors, the lady next to me was selected… the rational part of my brain knew it made zero difference, that my chance was still 14-in-40-something of being picked, but wouldn’t you know it I’m selected immediately after her (not sure what the odds of that are).
The case was to be a long one, and indeed it went all week. There was a chance we might be deliberating on Friday, so they ordered lunch for us, but no such luck… back on Monday. Try as I might to stay up to speed on all the tickets we’ve got going on after work, that just made the days very long, so I just resolved that I’d get caught back up over the weekend and when the case was done.
On monday they once again ordered lunch just in case but by about noon it was not looking good for it to be over then either. I must stress how tedious and uninteresting most of the case was prior to this day, when in the middle of the proceedings one of the barristers goes “your honour I think I have a legal issue to raise”, and we were sent out while they hashed it out.
Turned out to be unresolvable, and the whole thing was called a mistrial. We still got our free lunch and were dismissed, and I was able to head into work the next day.