26 February 2008

I've had enough...revisited

"I have to presume that the Kylie on the other end of the phone was not a four year old but an adult. This was hard to do....I thanked Middle Aged Bitch for her top notch people skills in dealing with me"

Recently I posted a blog http://dw-perspectives.blogspot.com/2008/01/ive-had-enough.html about being summonsed for Jury Duty for the fourth time in seven months. I thought it would be a great idea to do a follow up blog on what happened next...

After receiving the summons I decided to ring up the NSW Sheriff's office and explain to them that as a contractor (that is I get paid by the hour for the work I do) I would be suffering financial hardship if I did a six week court case. Anyway, I spoke to a female who sounded extremely young. I wondered if I had rung up the local kindergarten by mistake, but no it was the Sheriff's Office. So this young lady (let's call her Kylie) would be making a decision on whether I would need to attend Jury Duty.

I have to admit that I had visions of a four year old girl (i.e. Kylie) dressed up as a Sheriff from the Wild West days with cowboy pants on and a gun in a side holster. Naturally a cowboy hat completed my imaginary vision. I have to presume that the Kylie on the other end of the phone was not a four year old but an adult. This was hard to do.

Anyway, Kylie explained that once I had been refused exemption I had to attend the court for Jury Duty. I tried to explain to her that it was financial suicide to be on a six week court case but Kylie stood her ground and said 'no'. She then got off the phone (and presumably played with all the other four year olds at kindergarten).

My next port of call was to my local State MP's office. I had met my local Member of Parliament a couple of times and had found him very receptive. I rang his office and spoke to one of his staff. The person I spoke to (let's call him Bruce) was very sympathetic and said he would ring his 'contact' at the Sheriff's office to see what could be done. I just hoped he didn't know Kylie otherwise I wouldn't be getting anywhere with my predicament. Anyway, it was sleep time for the kindy children so Kylie would be unavailable.

After a couple of hours Bruce rang back and said that he had spoken to a senior contact (I presumed a six year old) who said that the Sheriff's decision was final. All I could do was turn up on the day and argue my case. I thanked Bruce and let myself ponder my options.

The options were this...not to attend and risk a huge fine; attend and look a bit weird hoping not to get selected or attend and argue a damn good case.

So I thought that a combination of the last two options were the way to go.

For 4 days prior I decided not to shave and to have a semi beard like visage. On the (call up) day I wanted to send out signals that I was a bit 'alternative' so I wore lace up Doc Marten boots, straight black jeans rolled up to reveal the boots, a t-shirt which read 'it's hard to be this good looking', a couple of rings, id bracelet and a unisex necklace. I suppose I looked a bit like a punk/goth/alternative type of character by the time I left the house. I have to admit I got a few strange looks on the train into Sydney. In fact, no one wanted to sit next to me!

I arrived at the court and had to go through an airport x-ray machine. I left the jewellery on deliberately but the machine didn't bleep. Then I had to show some id before going into the jurors room (a large room without windows that has televisions showing daytime shows - yippee!). The lady who asked for my id (let's call her Middle Aged Bitch) was speaking in a condescending tone as if I was a criminal. I thanked Middle Aged Bitch for her top notch people skills in dealing with me as I made my way into the jurors room.

Inside I had to show my summons and was given a number. Following that we (the potential Jurors) were all taken into the court and asked if we could do the 6 week court case. Of the 100 people summonsed only 8 said they could do the case. Given that 15 were absent that meant there were 77 people who needed to be excused. The problem for the Officer of the Court was that they needed at least 20 people to enable a jury to be formed!

So we all traipsed back to the windowless jurors room for some riveting television. Riveting it was. I didn't realise that there were so many facial cremes for women! Anyway, some people were being called up to see the Officer of the Court and were told that they were not excused from Jury Duty. My 'impersonal' number was called in the last group after having been waiting for about three hours and getting well and truly sick of daytime television.

I was the last number called and the Officer of the Court said that I was excused this time but would be summonsed again. She told me to think about attending a short time frame court case. I stood still and thought about it for 3 seconds and told her that I had indeed thought about it and that the moment had now passed. With that I was a free man! Now I know what leaving prison must feel like. On the way out a gave a wave to the Middle Aged Bitch for fun!

So now I await my fifth summons to appear in the post soon!

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