Priests and Jurymen

The Scottish Government’s recent consultation paper “The Modern Scottish Jury in Criminal Trials” has raised an interesting dilemma for Kelvin Holdsworth, the Provost of St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow.

He asks (as does the consultation) “whether or not you think that clergy should have an automatic right to be exempt from jury service if they wish it. Currently the law in Scotland is that clergy can be called for jury service but they have the right (as do a small number of people in other roles) to opt out if they choose.”

The list of those who may opt out of jury service currently includes: members of the armed forces, MPs, MSPs, doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, pharmacists and vets.

As Kelvin asks “As the court hears what you are accused of and you raise your eyes nervously towards the jury, do you want to see me, in a clerical collar perhaps, sitting there?” Well, do you?

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