I’m not sure where to start this blog entry. Last week was one of the oddest, most fascinating, yet deeply disturbing weeks of my life. I’d been looking forward to receiving me citation for jury duty since I went onto the Edinburgh roster for the year in March, and even though I’d hoped to get the High Court, last Monday morning (the 1st) I found myself at Edinburgh Sheriff Court where the most remarkable week was to unfold.
For obvious reasons there is much I cannot tell you throughout this post about what happened in court. The who’s and where’s are obviously out of bounds and the what’s I can divulge in broad terms only. As for the why’s, I have absolutely no idea. It’s the law, I’m afraid, and I have to live by it.
To cut a long story short the case lasted the best part of the week and during that time I gained the most valuable insight into the workings of the Scottish legal system. I met some lovely people in the jury; we talked a lot, debated, shared some laughs and came to a decision at the end of the week that was unanimous in its making, but not at all easy to arrive at.
Like fifteen tiny pieces of string we all provided our case for bringing the accused in as guilty, which was one of the hardest decisions of my life.
In hindsight, after the guilty verdict was read out and we sat in a silent court room listening to the guilty man’s previous convictions to be taken into consideration for his sentencing, we all knew we’d made the correct decision. That didn’t remove the gut wrenching revulsion and physical sickness I felt for the rest of the week though, when it was all laid out in clear and simple terms who this man actually was, and how many lies he had told us during his testimony.
Outside the court room I spent most mornings in the Elephant House, drinking coffee and reading the papers. I grew to quite like the ambiance in the place during the mornings, but it could grow to be a busy little place by the afternoon, too busy perhaps for my liking. The Elephant House is of course the place where JK Rowling gave birth to Harry Potter and boy do they play on it in the coffee shop; the place was full of writers.
It took me a few days to get over the emotional dunt I took from experiencing of what had occurred in the courtroom. Spending one’s time analysing paedophilic evidence is not the easiest way to spend any week, and I top my hats to the men and women of all the police forces around the world who do it on a daily basis in order to put these animals behind bars.
So that pretty much sums up last week: horrible, fascinating to be a part of, and satisfying to have played one small part in achieving justice.
The court case lost me the first full week of NaNoWriMo. By the time I started writing my new novel I was already 11.5K words behind the pack. On Monday just passed (the 8th) I began writing, so the question is, can I do 50K in 3 weeks? Only time will tell. I’m beginning to catch-up (check my wee progress cartoon at the end of this post) but I’m going away to the Costa del Sol for a few days so that’s another chunk of days removed that I won’t get to work. It’s tough being me. 😉
Get 25% off STELLA, my spy novella with a twist, when you order the e-book from the publisher’s website at www.eternalperss.biz. Simply quote 612JMZN67VZX at checkout.
Grab issue 24 of Open Wide Magazine for only £1 (one British pound) and you can read my short story, LETTING GO. It’s well worth it!