Winchester Crown Court’s selection as one of the 15 pilots for arranging counselling support to deeply distressed jurors is indeed good news. 

Juries are made up of ordinary, thoughtful local people and are ‘the jewel in the crown’ of our criminal justice system, according to Lord Justice Auld (1999). 

But such service can come at a painful, personal cost when detailed accounts and the evidence of murder, violent assaults and child sexual abuse are played out over days or weeks of a harrowing trial. 

Unlike in some other countries, jurors here receive no preparation, or follow-up once the trial is over. As I’m aware from my own past work at Winchester Crown Court, and my current doctorate study of the jury experience with Southampton Law School, this can leave some individuals traumatised, but reluctant to seek help after the repeated directions not to discuss the trial. 

The six free counselling sessions and the helpline to be set up, are hopeful signs that this ‘jewel’ is at last getting the attention it deserves. 

Stephen Hanvey,
Godwin Close,

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