|Residents need to do their duty to help mete out justice in Hong Kong|
One claimed he had to undergo surgery; another said he didn't understand much English, as the trial would be conducted in English even though it would be translated from Cantonese. The judge asked him several questions in English, but he had a dumbfounded look on his face and let go. The third claimed he had to go on a trip and the judge asked if it was for work or pleasure. He said pleasure and the judge added it the trial would be over before his holiday started.
During the trial, my colleague tried very hard not to look at the defendant's family members. If jury members even so much as glanced at them, the family would stare at them for a while. It was unnerving to say the least.
Of the seven jury members, six including my colleague decided he was guilty. The lone woman who didn't agree couldn't decide that he was completely guilty.
Lucky for my colleague, the judge accepted their verdict. If the jury members were divided to say three and four, they would be sent back until they could decide a five to two outcome.
Only then did the judge explain to the jury that the man only had an elementary school education, that he started committing crimes when he was 13 years old and as an adult had gone in and out of jail. It was only then the jury was told that this trial was his appeal to a higher court.
In the end my colleague actually enjoyed the experience and learned a lot. She was allowed to go home everyday and giving a stipend of a few hundred dollars each day. However the only tedious part was the translation that was done sentence by sentence which was tiring for someone who knew both languages.
Nevertheless she seemed pleased to do her civic duty and relieved it wasn't a murder case after all!