A Dundee sheriff has issued a warning after a jury trial was delayed for two days when 19 potential jurors did not attend for service.
Those who did attend had to be sent home because a jury could not be empanelled – there must be a minimum of 30 people to choose from.
One of the missing jurors, delivery driver David Reid, from Dundee, had earlier contacted the sheriff clerk’s office asking to be excused as he feared he would lose his job if he did a spell of jury duty.
His request was denied and he responded to the denial by saying he would “just take the fine”.
As a result of his non-attendance, Sheriff Alastair Brown ordered Reid to attend at court last week to answer a contempt of court charge.
The court was told that other business was able to be done over the two days so no trials had to be adjourned.
However, Sheriff Brown issued a warning to other potential jurors, saying that jury service would be enforced.
Reid’s solicitor John Boyle said: “It is clear that a lesson has been learned.
“He has no previous convictions and this is his first involvement in any criminal proceedings.
“This has had significant shock and awe value.”
Sheriff Brown made no finding of contempt – but said that didn’t mean potential jurors could simply ignore court citations.
He told Reid: “It should not be regarded as a licence for people not to attend at court. You were cited to attend as a juror and that citation has the force of law behind it.
“We have to have a certain minimum number of jurors before we can convene the jury court.
“Owing to your failure and that of another 18 people to attend, we did not have enough jurors to continue and two days were wasted.
“I understand your difficulties and I think that your response was one borne out of a lack of understanding, and your somewhat peculiar employment situation.
“Jury service is very important.
“It will be enforced but will be done on the understanding of the practicalities of the situation.”