I got a notice in the mail awhile ago telling me my province needed me and that my presence was required at the court house for jury duty. And like any good citizen, the first thing I did was try to figure out a way to get out of it. I came up with a legitimate plan which I thought would work. I got my employer to write me a letter.
Yesterday I showed up at the court house like everyone else, smug in the knowledge that I had an ace up my sleeve. Entering the room where all the potential jurors were kept was like walking into Ministry of Transportation office, only ten times worse. The room was packed with people, I would estimate about 200 or so. We were made to watch a half hour video and then given another half hour speech about what to expect of jury duty which basically boils down to this:
When you are called for jury duty, expect to be there for a full week, maybe more if you are actually picked to be on a case, which could be either civil or criminal matter.
The 200 or so people in the room are broken up into 4 groups, each group becoming a potential pool for jury selection to the many trials that are on going. Everyone from in a group then has their name placed into a drum and if a jury is required for a case, the names get picked from the drum. If your name is picked, you then go before the court and are asked a few questions by both the defence and the prosecuting attorney, who then decide whether or not they want you on the jury for this particular case. If you a picked, you then sit on the jury of that case, which usually last 2 to 5 days but in some cases even longer.
If you are not picked, you are sent back down to the jury pool room where you wait to be called again for another case and then the process begins all over again. If you are not picked for any jury you are still required to be there in that room and on call for the full 5 days, 9am to 5pm. I couldn't think of anything more mind numbing to do, then having to do that. It's literally like sitting at the MTO office waiting for your number to be called, FOR 5 DAYS!
But like I mentioned earlier, I had a plan, my letter from work. When the time came, people were asked if they had any legitimate excuses that they thought would get them out of jury duty. About 25% of us, put up our hands. We each had to hand in our summons and then get interviewed to see if our excuses were in fact legit. We were lined up and then interviewed one at a time.
When my turn came, I gave them my letter and my explanation. The court clerk took it all in and said "No problem. When can we reschedule...."
Long story short, my plan sucked. I didn't get out of jury duty, I just got it differed until April.