So This Is What Happens When Celebs Are Called For Jury Duty

I have always wondered!

I don’t know about you, but when the jury service letter comes in, I can almost feel my eyes roll into the back of my head. Yes, it’s important in a democracy to be part of a jury... but that doesn’t stop it feeling like a slog.

However, one thing I’ve always wondered is what happens when a celeb is invited to jury duty?

In the UK, you cannot serve on a jury if you know or have any knowledge of the accused. But, what if they know you? What if you’re Elton John? What happens then?

Luckily for me and other questioning minds, somebody asked this very question to Richard Osman and Marina Hyde’s entertainment podcast The Rest Is Entertainment.

What happens when a celebrity is called up for jury duty?

Their listener asked: “Having been called again, annoyingly, for jury service, I was wondering if celebs are exempt, as I can’t imagine David Beckham or Lorraine Kelly sitting in jury, deciding the guilt of a shoplifting case. How famous is too famous to serve?”

Richard actually thought that this was such a good question that he directly asked a high court judge.

According to the judge, if a famous person is filming a movie or is contractually obliged to work, they can get out of jury duty and defer a couple of times, if need be. However, there is nothing stopping celebrities being on a jury.

Richard decided to probe further and learned that even if it was weird to have, say, Lorraine Kelly on a jury, unless she was directly connected to the case. “Weirdness is not a grounds for deferring.”

So! There you have it! I was convinced celebrities would be able to duck out of it but not even fame exempts you from civic duties.

However, mega-fame does seem to impact proceedings a little

Of course, even if they aren’t excused from jury service, it must be hard as a member of the public to ignore the fact that there is a major celeb serving on the same jury as you.

Back in 2013, a prosecution lawyer thanked Tom Hanks for serving on a domestic abuse case, which brought the trial to a halt as the lawyer had broken court rules whereby lawyers cannot approach the jury.

A year later, Madonna was relieved to not be selected for jury service as there were concerns she would create a “distraction.”

Well, yes!


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