Jury Service

We have just completed two long and very complex Murder trials in Christchurch. The defence of both unfortunately, was to shift the blame over to the victims, who is of course unable to speak for themselves. Initially, I’ll take the case of the brutal murder of Sophie Elliott, Dunedin student, and the subsequent trial of the accused, Clayton Weatherston. For me, it was a disgusting spectacle from start to finish. His defence was centred around the fact, that to his mind that he was provoked, so his evidence and defence was by her action of spurning him brought about his action. This tactic should never have been allowed. His Defence Council, who are also Officers of the Court, really should have known better. Ethics today would seem to have flown out the window, and to win at any cost. Not only did go to the girls home, he knifed her in her bedroom some 216 times, then proceeded to desecrate her body by cutting off parts of her face and sexual organs. If that wasn’t bad enough, he then did his level best to portray himself as the victim, this with the aid of his council, pleading diminished responsibility all caused by her provocation. He did plead to be guilty of the crime of manslaughter, but my feels are that if had he had any backbone at all, he should pleaded guilty of murder. What seemed to be over looked was that he was the one on trial, not his victim. She is unable to plead for herself, and her memory is allowed to be subjected to a litany of innuendo in what she may have done, or not done, to her former boyfriend. Even her private Diary didn’t escape examination, and it was entered as evidence.


In the mating game, we are all sometimes rejected, or passed over for a multitude of reasons. It could be that one is guilty of eating garlic, onions, smelling of beer, or cigarettes. Sometimes we don’t measure up because of a small statue, personal hygiene, or what your perceived prospects and standards will be. When I was young, many folk seemed to have an aversion to plain soap and water, for me this was very ‘off putting’. Someone once said in selecting partner for life, take a good look at the mother as an apple never falls far from a tree. I once had a very beautiful girlfriend, perfect in every respect, but quickly moved on, once I heard how she spoke to her sister and mother. I could see myself receiving much the same treatment in the future, had I decided to become involved. Another danger to any relationship is the damage done well meaning friends, or relatives. You know the story, ‘You can do better’ just off the cuff remarks that sometimes have a very damaging effect on any relationship


In any trial the Jury have the last say, but is this a fair system? Once it may have been, but today it’s not so, by the way it has evolved. No longer it’s a cross section of people. Once the Jury lists are sent out, and it looks like along trial, no one is very interested serving and every excuse under the sun is trotted out to avoid being empanelled. This means that now you no longer get a cross section of a one’s fellow citizens and you are now left with those without the wit or wisdom to avoid service. Who can blame anyone trying to avoid service. The pay is no longer adequate. Perhaps it should be linked to the salary of politicians, then it would never be a problem. Another necessary adjustment is the availability of just getting there. Parking, or perhaps even valet parking could be looked at, even taxis supplied. The whole period of service is one of inconvenience and personal disruption, as the councils drone on and on. Who can blame them, when they are being paid by the hour.


The other trial was that of David Bain. I will never understand how he was found to be ‘Not Guilty’. The trial was remarkable as he never took the stand. During the whole trial he never opened his mouth, all his pleading was done by his lawyers. Remarkable.

One Response to “Jury Service”

  1. Glenda says:

    Remarkable Wally? Not really, when you look at that jury, all without wit or wisdom….
    Well said, by the way