Jury service. Again.

The first time I got the call for jury service was ten years ago. At that time I thought ‘Okay, could be interesting’. There is a number you have to call the night before you are due to attend and I was cancelled by phone. Nothing happened.

The second time was five years ago. Business was slow and being locked into impending jury service meant I could not take on any project that might overlap the set dates. I also could not give definite times for my availability after the date in case I ended up on some long, drawn-out trial. In the event, I attended but was not selected.

The business did not recover. Companies wanting research and testing want it done now or at least at a definite date. Most went elsewhere and didn’t come back. You don’t get referrals from other people’s customers so it just faded out. I finally gave up for good and closed the lab in December.

Meanwhile I had started up the publishing business. I knew it wouldn’t be a quick start. I had to learn a lot of new stuff, especially marketing. I really did start from zero on that one.

It’s really just now starting to come together. Leg Iron Books has its own website and Facebook page and I have begun trying to word a few good Facebook ads. Their prices start at £23, which isn’t bad, but a badly worded ad is worse than no ad at all. Just getting into the swing of things and…

I had a letter today. Jury service again. I have been ‘randomly selected’ every five years (they apparently have to leave a five year gap) compared to many people I know, of my age and older, who have never been selected.

Last time, I was trying to revive a business that was starting to struggle. Being seen as unreliable, because I couldn’t give fixed dates for anything, finished that business (there was another factor but talking about that will land me with a jury of my own, and I can’t prove it). Once the last contracts were done, that was it.

This time they strike when I’m just getting a new business underway. It might sound paranoid but it really does feel as though they are trying to kill this one too.

If I am selected, they will have the most reluctant juror they have ever had. I will do my utmost to get it over with as fast as possible. There is no public transport out here, I will have to drive to Aberdeen every day and it’s not an easy drive from here. I’ll have to leave early and get home late, try to eat something and sleep a few hours before the next round.

I will have no time for anything else.

I also have my parents visiting in April and the court date – April 10 – is right in the middle of their visit. One week later and it wouldn’t have mattered so much. Oh I’ll call on Monday and see if they can change the date but if, as I suspect, they act without sympathy or compassion they can expect this juror to do the same.

I am going into this in a very bad mood. Three bloody times they have done this. The first time it would have been okay, the second and third times are starting to feel personal. Am I going to get this shit every five years until I get over 70?

Well this time I am going to be prepared. I will have the next anthology done before April and I will have Facebook ads ready to roll before then too. It will probably mean I’ll be incommunicado while they run but that can’t be helped.

The worst part is that it could mean that any book submissions in April could go unread for a long while. Again, that will make me look unreliable in the eyes of the authors submitting and I could well lose a few while the legal system plays with my life once more.

I’m starting to think that getting banged up for something for a few months could be worth it. That would disqualify me from jury service for good.

18 thoughts on “Jury service. Again.

    • Ditto here; I’m 48 and have never been called up for jury service. I dare say West Lancashire has enough people to call on who are at a loose end and able to attend.

      Have you considered that the randomisation process may be slightly non-random? As the great Alan Turing put it, if you are using a deterministic algorhythm to produce randomness then you are already in a world of sin before anything else.


  1. I’ve had an idea. Can you “act” a nervous tick during which you twitch your arms and hiccup/burp/make a sound, randomly, at intervals of a couple of minutes? You could also contrive to accidentally elbow the next juror to you each time, in the courtroom, all the time, while doing it. It will be very distracting for the defence council, who’ll argue (quite rightly) that everyone will take their eye of what he/she’s saying in defence of his/her client, and you will be safely objected to before the trial begins.

    You will,of course, have to be doing it on the way in, and in the waiting room. Of course, it’ll be a condition that you’ll have developed since the last time you got called five years ago. And of course, it’s getting worse.

    You never know. You might get told to bugger off, and the court will put in someone else…..


    • You could also “accidentally” aim to randomly kick the wainscotting in front of your seat. But only with one particular foot, all the time. You’ll also act apologetic, and say you can’t help it, it just “comes on sometimes”.


  2. Or simpler. Could you not just “throw a sickie”, and contrive to be so ill that you’re bedbound a day or two before the call? CStM could stand guard for you, as you’d not be able to receive visitors. Could you “give” yourself some mild bacterial mishap that turns you a grey-green colour and puts up your temperature for a couple of days?


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