I cannot speak about the trial that just finished. Not because I am observing some legal protocol. The reason I cannot voice my opinions is that my opinion did not, and should not, carry any weight in the assessment of innocence or guilt. Gut feelings, suspicions and the like may play a part in our everyday evaluation of people. But in a court of law, the presumption of innocence and the burden of proof are the only criteria that carry any weight.
However, maybe you might like to hear my thoughts about the experience of being a juror on a grim case heard in a county court.
Firstly, I was unprepared for the emotional reaction that hit me after the verdict had been unanimously agreed upon. Were the repressed tears for me, or the two people contesting their version of the truth? I don’t know, but I was not the only juror to appreciate the burden of responsibility that rested on our shoulders, both collectively and individually.
Secondly, can I honestly say that I did enough to ensure that justice was served? By expressing a minority verdict, I put my arguments to the other jurors as clearly as I could to try to change their minds. But when it came down to it, there was sufficient reasonable doubt about the allegations, so we had to find the accused not guilty.
Finally, I must try to erase any lingering doubts about whether or not the allegations were true or false, and put away the memory of vivid descriptions of brutal acts.