herald

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Judge's outrage over jury dodgers

A JUDGE has criticised financial sector workers as having a "notorious reputation" for trying to avoid jury duty.

Mr Justice Paul Carney made the remark before ordering an accountant to sit on a jury, despite the man's protests that he could not miss work because he was the only person capable of doing his job.

The jury is required to serve on a Central Criminal Court rape trial which is due to last two weeks.

The man told Mr Justice Carney that he is an accountant with a subsidiary of Eircom and the only person in his firm who can complete the month-end accounts.



Stick

The judge replied that the man's circumstances were not exceptional enough to warrant being excused from jury service.

"People in the financial world have a notorious reputation among us for trying to get out of doing their duty," he said before ordering the man to serve.

After a full jury was selected, Mr Justice Carney asked if the jurors were satisfied they could stick with the trial for two weeks. The accountant again spoke up and said he was "not particularly satisfied" as he would have to work seven or eight hours a day as well as serving on the jury.

The judge responded that Eircom has thousands of employees and "what makes you so special?"

The accountant said he has a "particularly stressful job" and added that he has recently been out sick for six months.

Mr Justice Carney relented and excused the man from service.

"I'm not in the least bit satisfied with your attitude but it's not in the interests of justice to have a juror labouring under a grievance," he said.

hnews@herald.ie

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