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UK: Would-be juror with ‘extreme’ homophobic and racist views faces prosecution

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  1. Robert Brown 10 Sep 2012, 6:03pm

    If this man was writing how he felt and was telling the truth then good on him for admitting it . . .

    TOO many people in positions of responsibility don’t say it, yet act on their prejudices and discriminate . . .


    1. I think it’s a bit generous to applaud him for being honest in this situation, a racist homophobe who admits to being such, sees that it is not a stance the majority take and openly admits it influences his views in a detrimental way…and then still continues to be a racist homophobe is arguably far worse than the idiot who doesn’t know better. That is ofcourse if he isn’t just trying to get out of his duty by any means.

  2. Leigh Hamilton 10 Sep 2012, 6:04pm

    What a horrible way to wiggle out of his civic duty.

  3. I’m happy he admitted it.

    1. Do you think someone who really believed that would describe their own views as “extreme prejudices” and say he couldn’t be impartial? I don’t. If he really believed what he was claiming, I don’t think he’d think he was in the least bit impartial or prejudiced. So I think this must be an ill-thought-out attempt to get out of jury service.

  4. I do not see what all the fuss is about? If the full letter was published then maybe i could understand. He has wrote a legitimate letter explaining why he couldn’t be on jury service. At least he had the decency to do that. it’s own personal beleifs. We all have have different views on stuff. Is this man a violent person? What in this article says he is? I dont really understand at all. good on him for telling the judge he did not want to be on the Jury Panel. And he even admitted he would vote with the majority. So he has admitted he is not a good person to be asked. If I didnt want to do it why the hell should I be forced to do it. i am sure there would be cases where i could be biased. What if I was put on a case where someone beat up an LGBT person etc. I am sure I would be biased….Life is isn’t so clear cut.

    1. Jury service is not a privilege – it’s a public duty and one that we are all obliged to perfom if called upon. Our legal system relies on us being judged by our peers and it is a disgrace for anyone to try to avoid it. I have served on a just twice and was happy to do so. If attitudes such as yours prevailed (‘why the hell should I be forced to do it’) then our legal system as it exists would fall apart. As for the writer of the letter in question – seems to me just an excuse to evade his responsibility.

  5. I bet he takes it to crown!

    Jury selection should be interesting!

  6. Suddenly Last Bummer 10 Sep 2012, 6:10pm

    Now that’s one way of getting out of jury service.

  7. This doesn’t make sense to me. If he’s manipulating the system then obviously it’s wrong, but what if he’s genuinely horrible and does hold these views? Then surely it’s better for him to actually not do it? But that conflicts with civic duty, so how does that work?

    1. Sister Mary Clarence 10 Sep 2012, 6:23pm

      I think people who genuinely hold those views would be extremely unlikely to identify them as prejudices or consider themselves incapable of being impartial.

  8. casparthegood 10 Sep 2012, 6:12pm

    This sounds like something dreamt up on a late night down the pub. “I have a cunning plan” It may come back and bite him unless he totaly genuine,which I kinda doubt.

  9. Suddenly Last Bummer 10 Sep 2012, 6:12pm

    Seems a popular option;

  10. MamaMeggie 10 Sep 2012, 6:19pm

    He should still be charged with contempt of court for failing in his duty, otherwise this becomes a massive loophole for everyone else to walk through.

  11. Blatant attempt to skip jury service.
    Firstly the dyed in the wool bigots are far more likely to sit on juries and not declare their prejudices simply because it gives them a power trip over minorities which trolling internet forums doesn’t.
    The dead give away that it’s a blag to bunk off jury service is the admission that he’d simply vote with the majority and not state his true opinion to wrap it up early.
    If he really had strong prejudices like racism and homophobia, he’s just not the type to just go with a majority verdict.
    This guy is full of it.

  12. Whether he’s being honest in stating his prejudices or gaming the system, he’s obviously not going to give an impartial decision based on the facts of the case. Let him go. I’m sure there’s plenty who will do their civil duty.

  13. Swear to tell the truth and then be punished for it. What a great message to all other potential jurors. Of course we don’t know whether he was telling the truth or trying to avoid serviing on the jury, but neither do we know if people who swear to be impartial are harboring prejudices. Now people who do harbor prejudices that would make them unfit for jury duty (and I’m sure there are thousands and thousands of them) will be reluctant to admit it for fear of legal consequences.

    The judge is out of order!

    1. No, the judge is not out of order.

      Yes, this individual may have been honest about his prejudices. However, it would have been more honest of him to proceed to jury service and air his prejudices in the jury room . . . and wrestle with the backlash.

  14. I don’t believe him. Most people who are prejudiced don’t think of themselves as that prejudiced. They believe that what they say is true.

    They’d also leap at the chance of, in their minds, correcting the justice system because a bigot would think things like “They always go soft on *insert minority*”

    It’s just a stupid attempt to avoid jury service, in my opinion. Something a child would think up.

  15. How many juries in the UK are full of people with prejudices against minorities? Those of us who are older know that widespread extreme ice against gay people was used knowingly by defence lawyers invoking the “homosexual panic” defence in full knowledge that this would get a knee jerk acquittal of the murderer they were defending from a jury that hated gay people. Personally I think we should entirely abolish jury trials.

  16. Spanner1960 10 Sep 2012, 10:45pm

    Contrary to popular opinion, being racist and/or homophobic is not illegal. (not until the thought police take over anyway.)

    I may not support the man’s views but I admire him for being honest enough to admit his failings.

    1. . . . but presumably your admiration for this individual stops short at his not having the guts to take his prejudices to jury service and argue his points of view with other jurors?

      1. Spanner1960 11 Sep 2012, 5:23pm

        Of course not, because if he did, he could be charged with ‘incitement to racial hatred’ etc.

        Like I said, being racist and/or homophobic is not illegal, but voicing them to others is entirely another matter.

    2. I can’t believe the amount of people who are actually giving this man praise?

      Admiration for this man is far too strong a word.

  17. Wow. Goes to show there is no criteria whatsoever for jury service if the man is prosecuted for not partiicipating, even after admitting to being a white supremacist. Is it any wonder Ian Baynham’s murderers got off with two or so years?

  18. Bill (Scotland) 10 Sep 2012, 11:57pm

    I don’t like the idea that ‘thought police’ should tell anyone what they may or should think so on that level this man is certainly free to hold the opinions he states he does, however reprehensible I may think them.

    On the other hand it does not seem the reasons he advances for avoiding jury service are valid. I think there are justifiable reasons for claiming ineligibility to serve on a jury and courts usually accept those. I think the judge is correct to tell him that he faces potential prosecution as it seems at least possible that he has claimed what he has solely in order to avoid jury service and it is perhaps for the CPS and a jury, if it goes to trial, to adjudicate, not for this judge on his own, which the judge him-/her-self seems to realise.

  19. GingerlyColors 11 Sep 2012, 6:51am

    Repugnant his views may be, at least he was not prepared to prejudice the outcome of a trial by serving on a jury particularly if the defendent was gay or from an ethnic minority. The right of a trial by jury dates back to the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 which allows a person to be judge by his peers. While the jury system has worked well for almost 800 years the biggest flaw is that citizens with prejudices can get selected. I personally believe that only good citizens should serve on a jury and someone who holds extreme racist and homophobic views should not be eligible but that does not mean that they shouldn’t readdress their attitudes. Should he be prosecuted for wiggling out of doing his civic duty or should he be applauded for admitting the truth?

    1. That’s the point, his litany of excuses don’t ring true. A hardline bigot that WOULDN’T want to prejudice a jury?!?
      Admittedly there’s an element of ‘catch 22’ about it, but the genuine bigots normally jump at the chance to throw their weight around, and therefore play their prejudices close to their chest until it’s time to pass verdict.

    2. “his litany of excuses don’t ring true”

      Agreed. It’s like he started off with the racist/homophobia one and then it occurred to him that that alone might not excuse him, so he added the last excuse about just voting to get it all over with, which would apply to every trial, not just ones involving people from other races or LGBT people.

      I’ve heard people put forward similar ideas to refuse jury service before, and nothing this man says makes me think he’s genuine at all.

    3. I wouldn’t say the jury system has worked well for 800 years.
      How many jurists just ‘go along with the majority’ or are bullied into making a decision they otherwise wouldn’t.
      I cannot imagine that each and every jury takes its task seriously and honestly.

  20. Jury duty has no place in civilised society. No one should be forced to have thier lives disrupted to take part in something that has nothing to do with them. Good on him for kicking up a fuss to get out of it.

  21. tomchicago01 11 Sep 2012, 1:24pm

    I mistrust this. Most people who have “extreme” views of this kind express them much more gingerly. Admitting that one is a pig is not nearly so cool as it used to be.

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