Last July I attended Jury Duty at the crown court in Croydon, I was meant to attend in January but I wrote to them and asked if I could defer it as I was still at uni and couldn’t afford to take 2 weeks off during such a major part of my life. They understood that and so I had to attend in July without the option to cancel, not that I would’ve cancelled.
I had to arrive at 8.45am which is insanely early for me but I still got there on time because I live nearby. It was really busy at first but I found myself a seat and quickly found out that despite not having access to the internet I was allowed to use my laptop so I got cracking on some freelance work. I along with the other new Monday Jurors were shortly shown a video of what to expect from jury duty.
Shortly after I was called in as one of the 15 people very quickly and luckily I was also chosen as one of the 12 to deliberate a case. My first case was a robbery. I can’t go into many details for obvious reasons but it was a very emotional case where some people didn’t want to decide whether the defendant was guilty because of the sentence they would get but knew deep down that they had to follow their heart and eventually made our decision.
During the days we were taking notes we had lunch in the canteen with £5.71 to spend daily otherwise during delegations we could request a number of sandwiches, drinks and snacks to be brought in during lunch (1pm – 2pm) which comes off of our £5.71 daily limit. The food was okay, the sandwiches were around the same standard as supermarket ones but with less of a variety and the drinks were expensive (£1.70 for 500ml Coke) but the main cooked meals were nice.
After we finished our first trial we had to wait until the cut off time and 15 of us were called for another trial which I was also chosen to be on. We started on Friday and went on until Tuesday, this time it was a stabbing. This case had a lot more evidence to it so it was easier to deliberate although yet again there were some emotional ties during deliberations but we managed to come to a decision. We didn’t hear the charges as the judge dismissed us since it was late in the day so we went home and came back on Wednesday.
Wednesday was a very boring day as no-one got called for a trial so the majority of people I deliberated with chatted in the cafe or solved jigsaws. Later in the day we were dismissed for the rest of the week which brought my jury duty to a close. We were offered a case but it was for 5 weeks and no-one wanted to take it for many reasons but finally our jury duty was over. Overall it was a great experience which I would definitely do again although hopefully not anytime soon.
I would just like to note that I have permission to have this on my blog from Croydon Crown Court. If for some reason anyone from this or any other government based organisation wants me to remove it then please let me know.