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Day: November 15, 2011

ITV1’s The Jury – The case should have been dismissed and the show axed after 15 minutes.

I kept meaning to write a review of ITV1’s The Jury but kept putting it off due in part to y’know being lazy and all that jazz. Well Caron Lindsay over at Caron’s Musings has put up her review which you can find this link and it seems we differ quite a bit!

First of all I will say both barristers were acted very well but did I care about some of the back stories of the jury? Did I heck. Yes Rashid coming to terms with aspergers and demanding that he be allowed to do jury duty and seemingly growing up in front of our eyes was a nice feel good story. The friendship of Tahir and Jeffrey warmed the hearts but the other back stories were all a bit meh and all in all a pointless waste of time that could have been devoted to seeing the evidence or how a jury room really interacts instead of the deliberations talking less than 15 minutes of screen time.

First of all Lucy pretending to be her boss Theresa, the case was done for me at that point. Obviously the jury should have been dismissed and a mistrial declared depending on when it was discovered. Had no-one discovered it then it still could have come to light at a later date and forced a retrial no matter which way the jury went. That annoyed me immensely.

The fact Katherine had an affair with a pupil under her supervision and the headteacher was happy to ignore it scared the living bejesus out of me. Do headteachers really ignore such actions and are happy to set up the teacher with another school far away? Are they happy to let the teacher ‘get it out of their system’? The way the show penned the storyline it made out the teaching profession to be like the catholic church were those who do bad are just moved on somewhere else. Scary.

Ann is writing to the accused FFS. I mean seriously?

Paul obviously does the worst thing and listens to and accepts advice from someone he believes to be the foreman of the original jury. He then passes that on to the jury room and that initially influenced the verdict. Had it not been to Ann who is attracted to the defendant, the unnamed juror who got the short end of the stick in terms of roles and Rashid wanting to check that Paul had been told this information by the right person then the defendant was done for. So Rashid went home and looked up the case on the internet and it turns out Paul was getting lied to.

Firstly this is not how a juror should act researching a case on the internet but secondly Rashid clearly did a lot of research and he would have known why the first case collapsed but he chose not to bring it up and instead only showed Paul a video that proved he’d been lied to.

When the truth came out they slowly decided he was not guilty and found him so. Hurrah. We then find out one of the jurors Derek had been going to a tanning salon so that everyone thought he had been on holiday as the fire brigade wouldn’t grant him time off for jury duty and he’d always wanted to do it. Then everyone turned up to see Tahir become a British Citizen. Really? In my two cases we said goodbye and walked away. I can’t tell you their names or anything and in the second case we were deliberating for as long as this jury did.

Also in our jury room in the second case we had one person sitting reading a magazine and not listening to a word anyone said as she didn’t care. Two other young men who thought he was guilty just because they thought everyone accused of sexual abuse against kids should go down as it is ‘better to be safe than be sorry’ and one woman who steadfastly refused to change her Point of View believing that in the same situation her kid would tell the truth, the fact the case had nothing to do with her kid is neither here nor there, her kid would tell the truth therefore all kids would.

Being in a jury room in a case where there are varying opinions is a very hard place to be. If the purpose of the show was to show how diverse a jury can be then it succeeded but if the purpose of the show was to prove that it is the best system for this country to continue to adopt then it failed miserably. It showed how easy it was to impersonate a juror (criminal offence) and showed how easy it was to nobble a jury into voting against its opinions based on the evidence they heard in court, which is rather a scary prospect. That jury would have found Alan Lane guilty had Rashid not been breaking the law himself and going online to research the original trial.

I watched it all but it wasn’t impressive. Jury duty is important and should be taken seriously. The sad truth is many don’t and as a defendant you can only hope that only two or three those selected in your jury couldn’t care less. If it’s any more then you might be in serious trouble.

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