Your role as a juror

welcome to the court and thank you for giving up your valuable time to be here you're fulfilling a very important legal obligation as a juror that can be inconvenient and disruptive to your daily life so we're very grateful for your cooperation jurors are selected completely at random from the Electoral Register to ensure a jury represents a cross-section of society anyone on the Electoral Register who's between 18 and 69 is liable for jury service and could be called at any time some people are disqualified from serving on a jury and these are listed in boxes a and B on the leaflet sent with your summons if you've ever been on probation sentenced to imprisonment or community service or if you're currently on bail it could be an offence for you to serve on a jury if you're unsure about your eligibility please speak to the jury officer in confidence before you are selected to sit on a trial your role as a juror is an important one you'll need to carefully consider all the evidence presented to you during the trial and then together with your fellow jurors decide whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty of the offense they've been charged with each morning before the court set there's a roll call of jurors if you fail to attend during your period the judge may find you it's really important that you arrive at court each day on time if you face any delays traveling to court or an ill please contact the jury officer immediately always remember to bring your summons with you sometimes delays outside our control mean you might have to wait around for some time we realize this is frustrating and assure you we do everything possible to keep it to a minimum please remember that you must get permission from court staff to leave the jury area or the court building we hope you'll bear with us we do apologize and thank you for your patience most of you can expect have finished your jury service within 10 working days but some trials can last longer if you're selected to serve on a longer case you'll be given an estimate of how long it's expected to last and if you can't commit to that length of time you'll have the chance to let the court know please don't be afraid to let staff know of any difficulties that you have because every stage of the selection is random some jurors may end up trying a number of cases and some may not be selected to sit on a trial at all if you have any problems reading writing or understanding English or if you have difficulty hearing or have any other disability which may affect your ability to serve as a juror please inform a jury officer at the earliest opportunity and before you're called to sit on a trial it is an offense for anyone to impersonate a juror and to serve on their behalf as a matter of routine you may be asked to show some form of identification at any time if you haven't been in a courtroom before it can be confusing so it helps to have some idea of who's who and where they sit the judge controls proceedings from the bench at the front of the courtroom a High Court judge is called my Lord or my lady a circuit judge is called your honor all judges wear robes and wigs in front of the judge sits the court clerk who wears a black gown and may also wear a wig the usher of the court will also wear a black gown facing the bench are the two legal teams representing the prosecution and the defense who are always closest to the jury each team has an advocate who will be wearing a black gown and usually a wig they will present and argue their case to you the defendant sits in the dock and will often be accompanied by a dock officer witnesses give evidence from the witness box or sometimes via a video link or behind a screen finally there's an area in the courtroom for the press and a public gallery please remember that you are not allowed to smoke or take pictures inside a courtroom when a trial is ready to begin the jury officer will randomly select a panel of around 15 people to go into the courtroom if your name isn't read out please stay in the jury waiting area for the next trial to be called when in court the court clerk will select 12 names at random from the panel and call them out members of the jury in waiting will you answer to your names and step into the jury box as I call you Debbie fault if your name is called confirm your identity by saying yes loudly and clearly and take a seat in the jury box Hasaan no she's at this point the defense or prosecution lawyers may challenge the selection of a particular juror if the judge accepts the challenge the juror won't be required to serve on that particular case and they'll be asked to leave the jury box you may be challenged for many different reasons so don't take it personally if it happens to you if you're not challenged then you'll be asked to take the jurors oath this is usually done by taking a holy book of your choice and reading the oath from a card I swear by Almighty God that I will faithfully try the defendant and give true verdict according to the evidence if you do not want to swear on a holy book you can ask to affirm the words are very similar to the oath and carry equal meaning I'd like to affirm please I do solemnly sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will faithfully tried the defendant and give her true verdicts according to the evidence please let the author know your preference before you enter the court so the appropriate card and holy book are readily available after 12 jurors have been sworn those not chosen will return to the jury assembly area where they may be called to serve on another trial once the jury has been selected the court clerk will read out the charges made against the defendant and the trial will begin members of the jury the defendant in this case is charged on an indictment with three counts if you realize you know anyone or have any other connection with the trial on which you're serving please tell the usher immediately all criminal trials follow a similar pattern the prosecution begin by outlining details of the offenses members of the jury I would like to go back to the events then their witnesses are called sworn and questioned I swear by Almighty God that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth this is called evidence in chief I've no further questions your honor when it is finished the defense have the opportunity to question each witness to find any weaknesses or contradictions in their evidence you said that in the first week of the month inquire this is called cross-examination when all the prosecution witnesses have been questioned cross examined and re-examined if necessary by the prosecution it's the turn of the defense members of the jury you have listened to the facts the defense can present their case if they wish to do so the procedure is similar but this time the defense call their witnesses who are cross-examined by the prosecution and if necessary re-examined by the defense the judge may intervene from time to time to keep the trial on course he may need to deal with the point of law or a difficulty that has arisen you will be asked to leave the courtroom while this is dealt with you will be informed as to when we want you to return thank you when all the evidence has been given the prosecution and defense may give their closing speeches they will talk directly to you as they refer to the strengths and weaknesses of their respective cases finally to help you decide your verdict the judge will tell you what the law requires and summarize the facts of the case if at any point you need further explanation or want to ask a question you can do so by passing a note to the judge via an usher if you feel unwell need to use the toilet or are distressed by the evidence please don't be afraid to tell someone again pass a note or simply raise your hand to get the ushers attention it's vital that your opinion is based purely on what you hear and see within the courtroom and you aren't influenced by any outside factors please don't discuss any details of the trial with anyone other than your fellow jurors not even your family and please don't remove any items of evidence or notes from the courtroom it is very important that if anyone approaches you about the trial or tries to influence you in any way you do not discuss it with any members of your jury and tell the jury officer or uh sure immediately important notice to all jurors you are reminded it is a contempt of court punishable with a fine and/or imprisonment for a juror to disclose to any person any particular statements made opinions expressed arguments advanced or votes cast by the members of the jury in the course of their deliberations that means you must not speak to anyone at all about the cases you hear apart from your fellow jurors and when you are all together you must not use social networking sites to post details about any aspect of your jury service or about the discussion and decisions made by you and your fellow jurors whilst in deliberation you may also be in contempt of court if you use the internet to research details about any cases you hear along with any other cases listed for trial at the court please ensure you and fellow jurors observe the rules above and if you have any concerns about this please speak to a member of court staff the judge will explain your duties as a juror before you're taken to the jury deliberation room to discuss the evidence and make your decision you'll be asked to nominate a foreman or a four woman to chair your discussions and act a spokesperson when you return to the courtroom remember it's a serious offence to disclose any information about anything that's discussed in the jury room including the opinions of any juror usually the jury must continue discussing the evidence until they all agree on the verdict sometimes the judge may decide to accept a verdict that is not unanimous the judge will tell you when this is appropriate once the jury has reached agreement you'll return to the courtroom and the clerk will ask the foreman or four woman to deliver the verdict if this is you be very careful to answer only those questions asked by the clerk will the foreman please stand mr. Foreman will you please confine yourself to answering my first question either yes or no have the jury reached a verdict upon count one upon which you are all agreed yes do you find the defendant guilty or not guilty on count one after this the jury's role in that trial is over but you should wait for the judge to tell you when to leave if you found the defendant guilty the judge may not pass a sentence on the same day if you have any queries during your jury service you can always speak to a jury officer or telephone the court office if you're summoned again within two years you have the right to refuse or may serve if you wish after your service you're entitled to claim certain expenses and an allowance towards any loss of earnings or benefits arising from your attendance at court the Dory officer will give you expense forms and further details your role as a juror isn't an easy one there can be a lot of waiting around many rules and formalities to follow and lots to take in we do understand this and thank you for your cooperation and patience and once again apologize for the unavoidable delays that may occur the jury system gives the public an important role to play in the administration of justice you are now called on as a juror to fulfill that role