(Jury Service - Day 3 - A Crown Court in London)
by Paul Singer - MD, London Fine Dining Group
I've been noticing a lot of numbers since I've been here. It's like someone had a number fetish when they designed this building.
Everything has a number; light switches, taps, toilets, plugs, doors and staircases, you name (or number) it.
The only things that don't have a number are - wait for it - the Courts!
Yes, believe it or not, the numbers of the Courts are printed on white A4 copier paper in Arial 100pt and stuck on each of the doors with Sellotape. Strange.
Being a potential juror involves a lot of waiting around.
Some enterprising jurors have started their own poker tournament.
They have plenty of time to build a roulette table, actually, if they like, but they will have to do it without screwdrivers or tools, which might present a challenge.
The clerk has just done another roll call. I am sure she has OCD and has to keep counting and numbering people (and doors).
There is a lady next to me who has interesting eyes. I say "interesting" in that they can look both ways ... at the same time.
I think they are called "home and away" eyes (because they can see both ends of a football pitch simultaneously).
She could be uniquely qualified for jury service as she will be able to see both the Judge and the Defendant at the same time, if we ever get anywhere near a trial, that is.
Speaking of which, we have had a slight technical hitch today. The public sector unions chose today to strike and have formed a neat picket line outside Court. I took no notice of it as I breezed through but I did notice that several other people stopped or refused to cross the line.
Now, we've just been told that some of those who refused to cross the line were jurors so the Judge has had to dust off his law books to see if there is a precedent for ordering them to attend and cross the line - or even if he can clap them in irons and lock them up for contempt. How exciting. We might get to try the other jurors.
Apparently, this is legal history, according to our judge, who has never seen this situation before.
He deliberated and guess what? We are all having another afternoon off.
Apparently he can't find any precedent allowing him to order the jurors who refused to cross the picket line to attend Court, so the trial has had to be postponed as there are only 8 of us here today and they need all 12 jurors to proceed.
So, assuming there is no strike tomorrow, we'll all be back in Court, bright and early, to start the trial.
In the meanwhile, the Defendant gets to see another episode of Britain's Got Talent, tonight, which some might say is punishment enough for almost any crime!To be continued...