From the Daily Mail. I suppose that’s one way to skip jury duty. Well-played!
By Martin Robinson and James Tozer
A juror told a court his homophobic and racist views meant he could not give a defendant a fair trial.
In a letter written to the judge after he was selected from a shortlist to serve in a case, the man claimed his extreme views ‘against homosexuals and black/foreign people’ made it impossible for him to be impartial.
Last night an investigation was under way after the judge reluctantly agreed to dismiss him from the jury and referred the case to the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve.
Scandal: The juror at Southampton Crown Court asked to be stood down because he is racist and homophobic
The letter was made public after he was selected to serve on an assault and dangerous driving trial at Southampton Crown Court.
Presiding Judge Gary Burrell QC read his note out in open court.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has since been taken off the jury and threatened with prosecution for contempt of court.
This is because Judge Burrell said he could not be sure if he had written the letter just to get out of it.
‘I strongly believe that it would be a serious injustice to the legal system to select me for jury service,’ his letter said.
‘I hold extreme prejudices against homosexuals and black/foreign people
and couldn’t possibly be impartial if either appeared in court.
‘Therefore it would not be in the court’s interest to have me a juror.’
Questions: Judge Gary Burrell read the letter out in court and admitted he did not know if his views were genuine
He admitted that in his eagerness to bring any case to a swift conclusion, he would simply vote with the majority and not give his true opinion.
He added: ‘I would be more than happy to speak to a judge regarding my personal views on the legal system, which I do not hold in high regard.’
Prosecuting and defence barristers Rebecca Austin and Robert Bryan lodged a challenge to him as a juror.
When questioned by Judge Burrell about whether these were his true beliefs he confirmed they were. He also added that he didn’t think he had the right to ‘judge anyone’.
Judge Burrell concluded it was difficult to know for sure whether those were the man’s beliefs or if he was simply trying to manipulate the system.
Either way, he said the opinions were not those held by the vast majority of the population and dismissed him from both the jury and the court building.
Judge Burrell said: ‘If you do genuinely hold these views then you are someone who should not be on the jury.
‘I also question whether you should be doing anything responsible in society at all.’
The man, who was escorted from the court, was warned he now faced prosecution under the Contempt of Court act for failing to serve on a jury.