Musings and Snippets from a recently retired JP. I served for 31 years, mostly in west London. I was Chairman of my Bench for some years, and a member of the National Bench Chairmen's Forum All cases are based on real ones, but anonymised and composited. All opinions are those of one or more individuals. JPs swear to enforce the law of the land, whether or not they approve of it. Nothing on here constitutes legal advice.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Jury Service Can Be a Drag
Not every juror takes their duty with the seriousness that they should - Like this fellow
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Hussain originally denied the offence when confronted by police, but finally admitted it after the officer told him the butt could be tested for DNA. He was fined £450.ReplyDelete
I'm not sure how it's contempt of court, he was outside the court on a break smoking a joint.ReplyDelete
Cannabis isn't alcohol, it doesn't turn people into idiots (it does occasionally turn people into bores who think bad jokes are funny though!)
Really, if it's okay to go for a couple of pints during lunch it should be okay to have a joint.
No - a couple of pints is legalDelete
Perhaps unwise, but still legal
Cannabis is illegal
No matter how much you may wish it - its against the law.
How can a man walk out of the court, break the law deliberately and knowingly, and then walk back inside and find someone guilty of a crime
Probably fair enough. But can we be assured that judges' and barristers' lunches are alcohol free ?ReplyDelete
Whatever the arguments for legalising cannabis, the fact is that it is currently illegal and alcohol is not. This idiot would have been incapable of assessing evidence while drugged up to his eyeballs and as such, it was a completely correct decision to exclude him from the Jury. Of course I understand the alcohol v drug legality arguments but the fact is that two wrongs don't make a right...ReplyDelete
"while drugged up to his eyeballs". H smoked one spliff.ReplyDelete
I won't drive a car having had 1 alcoholic drink...1 spliff (and it could have been skunk for all you or I know) is just as bad based on some of the shuffling wrecks I've seen who claim to have 'only had 1 spliff'!!Delete
I assume that attending as a juror while under the influence was deemed to be a conntempt, andthat turning up drunk for jury service would be seen in the same way.ReplyDelete
I shouldhave thought he would have been well advised to keep his mouth dhut, however - I can't imagine that testing the butt of the spliff for DNA would have been done - it's hard to imagine that that could have been ustified as proportinate or in the public interest, so perhaps his judgment [i]was[/i] impaired...
A caption worthy of the Sun!ReplyDelete
All in all, to go by the limited information available, a £450 fine (no mention of a victim surcharge or costs 'tho) seems a fair outcome to a moment of stupidity, particularly given the costs to the public purse.
On a scale of 0 (absent) - 10 (perfect) common sense: zero.ReplyDelete
On a pharmacological scale: impossible to judge on evidence provided (assuming 'drugged up to his eyeballs' is very unsupported, and SouthLondonJP needs some education before jumping to that conclusion; I thought magistrates were meant to be fair).
But the larger question is: Should juries have common sense, and if so, how is that measured and supplied ?
Oh FFS 'drugged up to the eyeballs' is an expression of speech, not a scientific assessment. Some people on here are either so up themselves that they have to analyse every word written or just being deliberately obtuse to plug their own agendas...He was stupid (very possibly because he was a frequent drug user tbh); he broke the law, he was fined.ReplyDelete
Just because you may want to believe that drug use is harmless, a bit of fun, has no lasting effects, or whatever doesn't make it so. Yes, alcohol does the same thing and is legal. So what. That doesn't mean that it's effects are any less harmful or dangerous when taken in sufficient quantity. Would a clearly drunk juror be allowed to remain? No. Should driving a car while being 3 sheets to the wind (For Mr Frost's benefit another expression of speech btw - and not a comment about the number 3 or the desirability of hanging out your bedding on the washing line) be legal so that you can slaughter innocent people with your vehicular deadly weapon? No.
Of course it would be wrong to analyse every word written, but isn't 'agenda' already a plural in its own right?Delete
I'll get my coat...
Not in common parlance. And certainly not when used figuratively to mean that someone has an ulterior motive for making a particular suggestion.Delete
Ah, common parlance.Delete
I'd like to think that some places on the blogosphere aspire higher...
And , "three sheets to the wind" isn't a reference to bedding, but to the bits of rope that control the set of sails................Delete
'Just because you may want to believe that drug use is harmless, a bit of fun, has no lasting effects, or whatever doesn't make it so.'Delete
Please don't put words in my mouth. That's another thing that JPs are not supposed to do.
This was a particularly serious trial, involving as it did an allegation of child rape, and the judge had to be seen to take a firm, but proportionate, line. The chap in question will have had some very anxious moments, knowing how seriously contempt of court is taken, and it sounds as if his solicitor did a fine job pulling all the stops. It does make me stop and think, because there's no denying that some judges and magistrates have been known to have a glass of wine or beer over lunch, and would no doubt argue that their judgment was not impaired, just as was argued by this chap's solicitor.ReplyDelete
I am saddened to see a justice of the peace seemingly call into question the validity of the jury system. Like G.K. Chesterton, one could argue that deciding guilt or innocence is too important a task to be left to trained men [or women].
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
Appeals have been allowed and retrials ordered in the past because the appearance was given (no more than that) that one of the magistrates hearing the case had dozed off during the proceedings. In this jury trial, the jury was about to be sent out to consider the evidence and deliver its verdict. If all twelve had done that and in due course convicted the defendant, can you imagine that that verdict would have been allowed to stand if the defence had subsequently gone to appeal on the grounds that it had come out that one of the jurors could (no more than that) have been under the influence of cannabis when deliberating.ReplyDelete
As it happens, the eleven remaining jurors failed to reach a verdict and a retrial had to be ordered anyway, but if we could correctly forecast what a jury was going to do, we wouldn't need to send them out in the first place.
Very fairly put. I wouldn't disagree at all.ReplyDelete
I don't mean to speculate on Mr Hussain's race or religion, but we have to be aware that in Islamic culture marijuana is considered to be acceptable (whereas alcohol is expressly prohibited). The courts need to be less blinkered, and open to the values of the diverse communities they no serve.ReplyDelete
It's a matter of law, not a matter of culture. (Or to put it mathematically, in our society Culture < Law).Delete
Whether you agree with that or not, it's nothing to do with the courts being 'blinkered'. See payasoru's post above.
Great idea. Let our courts take their blinkers off and allow Asian communities to practice diverse values. How about forced marriage and so-called honour killings for starters?Delete
Just the sort of woolly-headed liberal nonsense that's turning this country into a playground for people using religion as an excuse to do what the hell they want without recrimination.
I worked in a pub to pay my way through Uni and the local Crown Court just happened to be next door. We always had pints lined up ready for the court regulars - Judges and Barristers - and that was in the day when it was quite acceptable for them to have more than just a couple with their sandwich. I have fond memories of m'lords wobbling back over to court.ReplyDelete