I was relieved to eventually be excused jury service this morning. Although I had explained beforehand that I was very hard of hearing and struggled in a group setting even with my hearing aids, I was told that I still had to attend.
After a 2 hour wait in the jury room, all 22 of the potential jurors were taken to be lined up in the courtroom ready for the selection process, The Deemster (judge) sitting up high, shielded behind his plastic screen, began to describe the process, and the name of the defendant, the various witnesses and the nature of the crime were read out. I understand that any of the potential jurors who may have known those being named could ask to be excused on that basis. Unfortunately, I could hear absolutely nothing of this and looked on in confusion as hands were raised and conversations took place. The court usher handed a notebook to a couple of the potential jurors who wrote notes that were passed to the Deemster for consideration. I tapped the usher on his arm as he passed me and told him that I couldn't hear anything of the proceedings. He handed me the notebook and I wrote a short note to explain my problem. With a little tutting and eye rolling, the Deemster and the Advocates agreed to excuse me and I was able to escape.
I was told that I could claim back my bus fare(!) however, I had used my pensioners bus pass so had a free trip into town and back.
As I had been told to be at the Courthouse by 9:15 a.m. P and I had travelled into Douglas yesterday afternoon and stayed overnight at the nearby Premier Inn. Comfortable and budget-friendly and a 2 minute walk from the Courthouse. No battling through the morning rush hour traffic to get there on time.
A big sigh of relief and a coffee at the Sea Terminal coffee shop with P before catching the bus home.
I wonder who the accused was and what he had done, though.