The shifty, the criminal and the stupid have an inalienable right to be judged by a jury of their peers and that was certainly true of the latter category in the case of the Crown versus Vicky Pryce.
Has it come to the point where a group of citizens have failed to grasp the basics of the legal system or even a working understanding of the English language?
I won’t list the ten questions of clarification that the jury put to Mr Justice Sweeney – you can read them all here – but I thought it was an understatement to say that the jury demonstrated a ‘deficit in understanding’ of its role.
Not understanding what is meant by ‘reasonable doubt’ is a pretty poor show, but the question that really showed them up was:
Can a juror come to a verdict based on a reason that was not presented in court and has no facts or evidence to support it either from the prosecution or defence?
What?! They want to base their decision on what their mate in the pub said, a tarot card reading or telepathic messages from the man in the moon? The mind boggles. I haven’t heard anything so farcical since Tony Hancock’s Twelve Angry Men.
Which is an excellent excuse to embed Hancock’s 1959 masterpiece!