Somebody pushed the irrepressible Martin Kelly over the edge when they asked him to do jury service in a building that lacks the access features necessary for that to be possible, and may even be unlawful. We hope you enjoy this righteous rant as much as we did!
Juror Number – #########
I find myself contacting you AGAIN regarding a summons for jury duty in [date redacted] at Swindon Crown Court, and I filled out the required paperwork stating I needed level access due to disability.
In response I received a phone call from [name redacted] at Swindon Crown Court on Friday 20th January 2017, explaining that the courtroom was upstairs and not Disability Discrimination Act (1995) (subsequently The Equality Act 2010) compliant. Even though you are part of the legal system I find it necessary to quote the acts of law to you as you aren’t following them. Anyway [name redacted] was extremely embarrassed and apologetic and said I would be excused from jury duty and I would be notified in writing. No problem thought I with uncharacteristic naivety.
Thursday 26th January 2017, I receive a letter from yourselves stating my Jury Service had been deferred until [date redacted] and I was required to attend Swindon Crown Court. I made a phone call to yourselves at approximately 9.15am, explaining there had been a mistake, to which your operative said I would have to email you explaining why I can’t do jury service even though you have it on record I need level access, so here it is:
YOUR BUILDING, SWINDON CROWN COURT, ISN’T ACCESSIBLE FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES!!!
As a disability consultant, access auditor and Equalities trainer, I can inform you of 3 ways I will be able to attend to carry out my jury duty – in order of likelihood to happen
1) You remove the roof of the building and parachute me in.
2) I finally master the art of levitation. I have tried this a few times in my 45 years of life and haven’t managed it so far, but I’m prepared to give it another go.
3) You actually follow your own laws and install a lift so I can get to the court room.
Now I didn’t want to send this email, I thought we had it sorted out last week, but you asked me to email to give you information you already have and if you ask me to do that then I’m going to do it my way.
I now consider this matter closed, but if you absolutely insist that I attend in [date redacted], I will and I will have a few journalists and TV crews with me to demonstrate how ridiculous this situation is.
Update: I received a response stating that ‘due to my circumstances’ I had been excused from jury duty. Although I have heard this before I remain cross as the reason stated is my circumstances, when it is the circumstances of the building not being accessible that is the reason I cannot fulfil their request. I would go as far as to say Swindon Crown Court not having appropriate access for a public building and being told I was being excused was due to ‘my circumstances’ would in my opinion indicate institutional disablism within the organisation.
By Martin Kelly
Disability Experts C.I.C.