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Jury Service

I have done Jury Service twice.

The first was in Hong Kong about thirty years ago. The case was a sad one. A young illegal immigrant was staying with his older cousin in a tiny flat in Kowloon. One day, for no apparent reason, he went berserk and hacked his cousin to death with a machete. As a British colony the trial was a facsimile of an assize court in England with a British judge, prosecution and defence gowned and bewigged. The jury was a polyglot affair with me, an Italian, an Australian and six chinese. Every phrase was translated into Chinese and vice versa - which made for some tedium.

The question was whether the defendant, a pathetic figure, was not guilty of murder through self-defence or insanity, or guilty of manslaughter through provocation or diminished responsibility. After a four day trial we found him guilty of the latter.

About ten years ago I had a summons to offer my services again at the Old Bailey. We were sworn in with all the majesty of the law and the case commenced. It was a young Chinese illegal immigrant who had been staying with his cousin in Shepherd's Bush who had gone berserk and hacked the cousin to death with long butcher's knife.

Creepy or what?
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