‘I can’t be on the jury – I’m the judge’

A senior judge has revealed that he was called for jury service and was only excused from the duty when he insisted that he was actually going to sit as the judge in the case.

Judge Keith Cutler, the resident judge of Winchester and Salisbury since 2009, told a jury of his surprise when he was called upon to do his public duty as a juror.

Speaking at Salisbury Crown Court, the senior circuit judge said that even though he replied to the summons stating that he was the judge in the pending trial, his reason was rejected and he had to contact the Jury Central Summoning Bureau directly.

Judge Keith Cutler
Judge Keith Cutler

He said: “I was selected for jury service here at Salisbury Crown Court for a trial starting 23rd April.

“I told the Jury Central Summoning Bureau that I thought I would be inappropriate seeing I happened to be the judge and knew all the papers.

“They wrote back to me, they picked up on the fact I was the judge but said ‘Your appeal for refusal has been rejected but you could apply to the resident judge’ but I told them ‘I am the resident judge’.

“I had to phone them up and they realised it was a mistake.”

Judge Cutler, who served as the coroner for the inquest of Mark Duggan who was shot by police in August 2011, sparking riots across London, and who has also served as president of the Council of Circuit Judges, said he would have been happy to have served as a juror if it had been appropriate.

He said: “I would have liked to have done the jury service to see what it was like and whether I would have liked the judge.”

A guide to jury summons issued by the Department of Justice states: “The normal expectation is that everyone summoned for jury service will serve at the time for which they are summoned.

“However, it is recognised that there will be occasions when it is not reasonable for a person to serve at the time for which they are summoned.”