A PROSPECTIVE juror provoked a heated dispute on a social networking website after declaring everyone appearing in court is guilty and should be hanged.
Ged Hammond made the remarks in a comment on a post on Newton Aycliffe Neighbourhood Police Team’s Facebook page about a garage burglary near the County Durham town.
“I am compelled to do jury service on January 13 at Teesside,” he wrote. “Send him there and I will get p****d the night before and take out my hangover on him or any other creep criminal that comes before me.
“Anyone who finds themselves in court in my mind is guilty ... Hang em!!!”
Mr Hammond, who lives in Newton Aycliffe and is believed to be a pensioner, made the comment on November 27, six days after posting a photograph of his Jury Summons on his own Facebook page.
Last week, he told The Northern Echo he has since been excused from jury service but the Ministry of Justice was unable to confirm this, as it does not comment on individual jurors.
However, a spokesperson from the Attorney General’s office, which deals with potential juror contempts, said: “This matter will now be investigated further so that the Attorney General can consider what, if any, action is required to be taken.”
Mr Hammond’s words provoked an angry response on Facebook.
One woman wrote: “Ged, get your act together. If that is what it takes to condemn someone you should not be anywhere near a jury. Your attitude stinks.”
Another user wrote: “Ged, I’ve been in court a few times and found not guilty. So how is everyone guilty?”
Responding, Mr Hammond said: “Alongside most other normal people who have never been arrested or can wave a banner saying I have never done time, I don’t expect any respect from those who have.
“I have certain preconceptions of criminality and criminals. If the people in power can condemn us older people for the thoughts in our heads then I’m the first to plead guilty.”
This provoked further outrage, with one Facebook user writing: “The people put up before a jury are not criminals, as you say, they are innocent until proven guilty. Clearly this basic concept is beyond your comprehension.”