‘Juror 791’ Writes

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Sean Fitzpatrick

Agitprop specialists The Bogman’s Cannon today posted comments reportedly from the juror excluded from the trial of Anglo-Irish Bank’s Seanie Fitzpatrick, as reported last night by RTÉ News.

‘Juror 791’, who is a a member of People Before profit, writes:

RTÉ reported yestertoday on TV and radio, on the selection of a jury for trial of Sean Fitzpatick. The report referred to a woman selected for the jury panel, who said loudly in court that she “most decidedly was not neutral in the case of bankers”.

Had I known RTÉ would carry my comments, I’d have made more of them.

I might have said for instance, that the criteria used to out-rule potential jurors is preposterous, excluding as it does anyone who may have “..expressed themselves in public… whether on the internet, on social media, including FaceBook…concerning Anglo Irish Bank PLC, or the banking crisis or bankers in general..”. (These are the judge’s words, not mine!).

The judge also explained that a fine of up to 2000 Euros could apply if you failed to exclude yourself from the jury if any of the following applied:

if you had been strongly affected by the banking crisis,

if you had “been active in any campaigning groups, either formal or informal”,

if you had “..been involved in protests….anti austerity protests and such like..”.

So who is left? Who has not been affected by FEMPI, or USC or cutbacks in public services, and might feel that these were connected to the banking crisis and have strong feelings about bankers as a consequence?

Or suppose you ‘liked’ a post on Facebook put up by one of those hundreds of thousands who campaigned against Water Charges or other austerity measures, or supposing, heaven forbid, you were one of those protestors. Well sorry, you just couldn’t possible be a juror then, now could you?

Does this not seem to be a very serious flaw in our justice system? If having a sense of outrage at the wrongdoing of the banking elites, or a sense of social responsibility such that you protest about injustice, or simply disagree with government policy and protest about that, that if any of this applies to you, then you are unfit as a juror.

It put me in mind of a great song years ago by the punk band Stiff Little Fingers, called “Suspect Device”. The suspect device was… a brain – you got one, don’t apply for jury duty.

Objection!

Overruled!

Clear the court.

Etc.

The Bogman’s Cannon

43 thoughts on “‘Juror 791’ Writes

    1. ahjayzis

      Come on.

      “if you had been strongly affected by the banking crisis,

      if you had “been active in any campaigning groups, either formal or informal”,

      if you had “..been involved in protests….anti austerity protests and such like..”.

      Rules out:

      -anyone who’s had their pay cut or frozen for eight years
      -anyone with bank shares
      -anyone with a private or public pension
      -anyone who’s had a friend or family member emigrate for lack of jobs
      -anyone now or in the recent past been in arrears on their mortgage
      -anyone now or in the recent past been refused a mortgage
      -anyone now or in the recent past who watched the news and clucked their tongue and made a passing remark about the sheer brazen greed of the scum who ruined our economy.

      This was a societal meltdown, not a niche hobby protest for a bunch of lefties to obsess over. Jury selection parameters this strict could serve to stack it with wannabe Gordon Gekko’s and Renua voters.

      1. Bob

        I’d still be eligible for that jury and I’d be firmly aligned against Fitzpatrick from the start. It’s not like it’s a conspiracy. It’s trying to select juries who haven’t been trying to lynch the defendant. It’s the problem with trial by media, which prevails modern society.

          1. Harry Molloy

            yeah??

            if you weren’t so hard of thinking you would realise that ensuring the jury is beyond reproach is not just beneficial to the accused, but also to the prosecution in ensuring a safe conviction.

            it’s easy to bitch and moan though, isn’t yeah

      2. rotide

        -anyone now or in the recent past who watched the news and clucked their tongue and made a passing remark about the sheer brazen greed of the scum who ruined our economy
        I suggest you critically examine your understanding of the phrase ‘strongly affected by’

        1. ahjayzis

          I suggest you read the judges words.

          “..expressed themselves in public… whether on the internet, on social media, including FaceBook…concerning Anglo Irish Bank PLC, or the banking crisis or bankers in general..”

    2. Guess Who

      “Potential juror unaware of the majority of people who exist outside her circles”

      You saying that the majority of people aren’t angry about the banking crisis and the public being made pay for private debts?

      I think Harry, you are the one living in a bubble.

      1. Harry Molloy

        well, I didn’t say that, did I.

        Little exercise – imagine the judge didn’t lay down the criteria (and still successfully form a jury), the conviction is successful and then just prior to sentencing it transpires there are multiple posts from a juror on the evil bankers and that they should all be jailed.

        what do you think happens then?

        how would this affect future trials?

        1. Martco

          nobody really believes/expects this to be a fair trial, is it feasible at all!? IMO long odds on any conviction, + custodial sentence being delivered here

          Suspect Device is a classic

  1. DubLoony

    Actually agree with this. Who in this country has not been affected by Anglo Irish Bank & its machinations.

    A person is expected to have a fair trial and Jury impartially assess the evidence. In a case as big as this, its very difficult to find impartial people.

  2. Junkface

    Ireland is a Banana republic without a fair Justice system, which is also way out of touch with the 21st century

  3. b

    “If having a sense of outrage at the wrongdoing of the banking elites”

    well that is kind of the point of it all isn’t it? Sean Fitz has not done any wrong in the eyes of the law and is entitled to a fair trail and presumption of innocence

    the criteria set by the judge did seem overly restrictive, it also excluded those who held bank shares – so anyone with a private pension, but it also seems very fair exclude the above juror

  4. kellma

    This is daft. To not have a view on the crime he may have committed…. I mean a juror in a murder trial should really not be in favour of murder either. Otherwise we would have a gaggle of Yorkshire rippers running around the place….

    1. b

      you don’t often have an accused who has allegedly fupped over an entire generation so its hard to pick a jury

      however, relatives and those who have been victims of violence or murder after often excused from serving at a murder trial

  5. kellma

    We call to the Jury DOB, Bertie Ahern, That mad conman businessman that faked his own kidnapping, Michael Lowry, etc etc

  6. rotide

    Sometimes the idiocy here hurts my head.

    We start with :
    The report referred to a woman selected for the jury panel, who said loudly in court that she “most decidedly was not neutral in the case of bankers”.

    we’re supposed to be somehow surprised that this women was excluded?

    There’s a lot of playing with semantics in the middle which might have some merit for discussion in a less hysterical envoiroment.

    And finally, this mastermind ends with this statement:
    The suspect device was… a brain – you got one, don’t apply for jury duty.

    Maybe if she used that brain of hers, she would know why you cannot ‘apply’ for jury duty.

    1. Guess Who

      “we’re supposed to be somehow surprised that this women was excluded?”

      Of course she couldn’t be included having made that statement. Her point is that the Judge’s criteria is ridiculous and simply unworkable.

      It’s like saying anyone who is outraged by burglary or who has ever been burgled cannot sit on a jury in a burglary trial.

  7. phil

    if you had been strongly affected by the banking crisis, – I have Ive done very well out of it thank you.

    if you had “been active in any campaigning groups, either formal or informal”, – Im part of the ‘Support Law and Order’ group

    if you had “..been involved in protests….anti austerity protests and such like..”. – I meet a fella in the pub every wed night, and I suppose we protested to each other about how silly austerity protesters were

    Should I be excluded ?

  8. Susan the Silent

    What if you were strongly affected by the banking crises in a positive way? What then? Will no one spare a thought for those that did very well thank you during austerity!

  9. Billy Kremlin

    Wow, that is shocking. It basically excludes the portion of the population with a conscious .

    kudos on the stiff little fingers reference

  10. Ronan

    Some merit to some of what she says (criteria seem a bit over specific) but she glosses over one point. Did she, at the point of jury selection, consider Sean Fitzpatrick guilty or innocent. Given our justice system grants the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty, and given it needs jurors to start from that presumption, I suspect she was very rightly excluded from the outset.

  11. Gorev Mahagut

    A jury, as a group, should broadly reflect the range of opinions and interests in society: restrictions on the basis of sex, religion, or political affiliations would violate this principle.

    The judge in this case has excluded potential jury members explicitly on the basis of political affiliation and opinion. This is different from trying to ensure balance in the panel.

    Asking jury panelists to vet their own opinions is impractical and invites ridicule. You shouldn’t make jury service a civic duty if you don’t trust the public. A judge in this position would have some serious thinking to do.

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