I have watched more TV this week than usual having become absorbed in the BBC's 'The Verdict'. In summary a jury of 12 celebrities had to make a judgment on the guilt or innocence of 2 young men in a fictitious case of rape. The fiction stopped there because it was filmed in a real courtroom with real barristers and a real judge. It was a truly fascinating few days of programmes and quite disturbing in some regards.
It was slightly ironic that the one juror who arguably shouldn't have been there (Jeffrey Archer who was convicted and imprisoned on a charge of perjury) was the one who changed his mind so causing the verdict on count 1 to be "not guilty". Although the case was fiction the jurors appeared to get very emotionally involved so heaven knows what it would be like in a real trial. In this particular case if Jeffrey hadn't changed his mind the case could have conceivably gone to a retrial, such is the incredibly fine line the judicial system works on. For all its drawbacks it is difficult to see how our methods of justice could be improved. It seems to me that rape is one of the most despicable crimes whilst at the same time proving incredibly difficult when it comes to passing the right verdict sometimes.
What was very interesting too was to watch the mechanisms of the court proceedings. I had never thought about the judge and the barristers having to kick their heels during the time the jury were deliberating. Fascinating too that the programme put the strengths and weaknesses of the celebrities under the spotlight. I have to say that although I normally love to hear the sound of a female voice talking there were one or two of the lady jurors whose voices really jarred and almost made me throw something at the TV! A good decision I thought to elect Michael Portillo as the jury foreman - his was a voice of quiet reason and good sense whilst others were getting so emotionally wound up.
For a really thought provoking female viewpoint I would suggest reading Rachel's blog here. There is a load of background info at the bbc.co.uk/bbctwo website. All in all well done to the BBC for this production.