brush with the law

Turned up at the sheriff court yesterday for jury service, all committed to doing my civic duty.

But the accused pleaded guilty at the last minute and we were all dismissed there and then.

We had to turn up again this morning, but today’s trial was adjourned due to the witnesses failing to show.

‘Alas!’ said the sheriff, ‘you may feel things are not very organised in court, it’s just it’s so hard to get so many people together in the one place at the one time. And guilty pleas are out of our hands.’

Well aye, thought I, registering that this must be the first time I’ve probably ever heard someone saying alas without a hint of self-consciousness.

Now I can’t decide whether to be relieved that it was possible after all to salvage two working days, or disappointed it was all so dull and unglamorous.

Meanwhile I’ve firmly decided that some day, I’m going to run a study to see exactly how many linguists would secretly prefer to have had a career in law. Law doesn’t seem to feature in the Speculative Grammarian careers advice, but maybe there are some things too dear to the heart for even the world’s greatest specialists in satirical linguistics to touch.

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2 thoughts on “brush with the law

  1. My only experience of jury service was almost as exciting, though the trial did go ahead (at Glasgow Sherrif Court) but it was a car theft/chase type thing so not at all LA Law style. It was a not proven verdict.

    I was nearly called as a witness (another car theft!) once but they pleaded guilty as we were all sitting outside the court.

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  2. Yeah, sadly John Grisham has not proved to be the most reliable of guides for the scottish situation!

    I’ll find out tomorrow if i’m selected for the jury – if not, they can’t call you up again for another 5 years i think (the citation expires after friday, as one legalistic chap amongst my fellow potential jurors managed to extract from the clark of court :-) )

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