11/09/2012 11:12 BST

'Racist And Homophobic' Man Says He Cannot Serve on Southampton Jury Because Of His Extreme Views

A man refused to serve on a jury because he had deeply-held "extreme homophobic and racist views" which he told a judge would affect his decisions in court.

The man, who cannot be named, sent a letter to Presiding Judge Gary Burrell QC, according to the Southampton Daily Echo, explaining that his extreme views mad it impossible to be impartial.

He had been selected to serve on a jury for the trial of a man accused of assault and dangerous driving.

In a letter read out in court, the potential juror said he did not respect the legal system and would have voted with the majority, in order to finish his jury service quickly.

“I strongly believe that it would be a serious injustice to the legal system to select me for jury service," he wrote.

“I hold extreme prejudices against homosexuals and black/foreign people and couldn’t possibly be impartial if either appeared in court. Therefore it would not be in the court’s interest to have me a juror.”

“I would be more than happy to speak to a judge regarding my personal views regarding the legal system which I do not hold in high regard.”

Prosecuting and defence barristers Rebecca Austin and Robert Bryan both challenged the man's selection as a juror.

He was grilled by the judge over whether he was a racist and a homophobe, which the man insisted were his views.

The Daily Echo reported that Judge Burrell had been torn as to whether the man actually held such views or was simply trying to get out of jury service.

But he concluded: “If you do genuinely hold these views then you are someone who should not be on the jury and I question whether you should be doing anything responsible in society at all.”

The man could be prosecuted under the Contempt of Court Act, for failing to serve on a jury. Judge Burrell has referred the matter to the Attorney General.

A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office said: "The Attorney General's Office is aware of this case and we await more information from Judge Burrell."

Last year, jury member Joanne Fraill was jailed after contacting defendant Jamie Sewart on Facebook.

After her release in December, she called for the jury system to be reformed.

She told the Manchester Evening News: “I googled the name because I was being nosy. I’m human. I wasn’t the first person to do it but I was the first person to get caught. The judge made an example of me because I was the first.”

Last year, teenager Matthew Banks was jailed for skipping jury service at Manchester Crown Court to watch the musical Chicago.

And in May Blue star Lee Ryan was excused from jury duty after it emerged he bought a horse from the judge.