A jury in Toronto recently found nobody liable for an accident where an allegedly drunk driver ran a red light and smashed into the plaintf’‘s vehicle, making a left turn. The jury should have rendered a liability split of sorts but failed to do so, saying the split was zero/zero. This did not help the plaintiff too much.
The noble six pack of people representing a random cluster of folks standing in line behind you at a Tim Hortons once again showed us what juries can do to our judicial system.
I cannot think of any other profession where lay people are called upon or rather forced to show up kicking and screaming to a hostile forum and render a decision that can affect a person’s life big time.
Take the world of medicine I can just imagine a hospital sending out random notices to residents demanding that they attend for a 3 week period at which time they may be called upon to do their duty and assist in surgeries. The notice supposedly might have an exemption area where the recipient can note why he or she should not have to attend for compelling reasons, like maybe he is a hypochondriac.
And how would jury selection take place? I suppose the head nurse can draw the names of potential jurors out of a bedpan. The surgeons would then agree or challenge. To wit:
Scrub Nurse: “Number 237, George Langley, baker”
Dr Hendrix: What kind of baker is he?
Scrub Nurse: Your are not entitled to more information doctor.
Dr Hendrix: OK, I am content.
Dr Williams: Hold on there. This patient is skinny. The baker may be biased. I challenge.
I suppose the jury would also decide on how the anaesthetist proceeds.
Anaesthetist: Members of the jury, should I use Diazepam or Protofol?
Jury Foreman: Neither. I heard eating turkey makes you sleepy. Can you give the patient 100 grams of a drumstick?
Patient: Hey, I’m a vegetarian.
Jurors in unison: You stay out of this. What do you know about medicine?
Naturally the surgeons would turn to the jurors for directions along the way.
Dr Hendrix: Haemostat please.
Juror A: What’s a Haemostat? Is that in case it gets cool in the room?
Juror B: I have one. I got it at Home Depot.
Dr Williams: No, no. It’s an instrument used to prevent massive bleeding.
Juror C: Bleeding? Nobody said anything about there being blood. I can’t watch this. What am I doing here?
At the conclusion of the surgery the medical team has to defer to the jury on some questions.
Scrub Nurse: Members of the jury, I shall now charge you. One question you must answer is how many sponges do the surgeons have to remove from the patient’s abdomen? Dr Hendrix in his closing statement urged you to find the number to be 14. Dr Williams asks you to find the total to be between 3-5. The decision will be yours only. You are the masters of the facts.
Don’t we all fell great knowing that since the Magna Carta, we have the privilege at trials of being judged by our peers!
I practice civil litigation and family law. Please visit www.striglaw.com. Does anyone get the feeling I am not crazy about the jury system in civil matters?