Wednesday, December 24, 2008

If called better go!

Man Jailed After Snubbing Jury Duty
By: Mike McIntyre
December 24, 2008
HE snubbed his nose at his civic duty -- and spent a weekend in jail as a result.
A Winnipeg man landed himself in legal hot water earlier this month after refusing to show up in court for jury selection. Although nearly 300 other people who received notices in the mail were present, Jason Drobot couldn't be bothered.
Queen's Bench Justice Glenn Joyal issued an arrest warrant and city police quickly picked Drobot up and brought him to court.
Drobot claimed he wanted to appeal for an exemption of jury duty. Joyal explained it was too late, that the jury had already been picked and Drobot hadn't gone through proper channels.
"That's bogus. You might want to talk to my lawyers," said Drobot, who later admitted he didn't have a lawyer.
Joyal was not impressed, warning Drobot he was walking a fine line and could be found in contempt. The judge even took a five-minute break to let Drobot think about whether he wished to offer a suitable explanation and/or apology to court.
Drobot just kept digging a deeper hole for himself. He questioned Joyal's claim that 300 people had showed up with their jury summons.
"You don't have seating capacity in here for 300 people. Maybe 75, tops. You're a liar, judge," said Drobot.
Drobot was clearly unaware jury selection is done in a different courtroom with the proper seating capacity. He even took aim at the water being offered in court, asking a sheriff's officer "How long has that been sitting in that pitcher? It looks putrid."
Joyal had heard enough. He said Drobot would be cited for contempt and have to appear before the Chief Justice following the weekend.
Drobot fired back, insisting he wouldn't be coming to court.
"Why should I even be here? You're just wasting my time. I have better things to do," Drobot continued. Joyal then ordered sheriff's officers to take Drobot into custody, saying it was the only way to ensure his appearance.
Drobot was held for three nights at the downtown Remand Centre. He was much more contrite when he appeared Monday before Justice Marc Monnin.
Monnin agreed to release him but said a charge of failing to appear in court would likely be laid against him at a future date. He could face up to a $500 fine or another 30 days behind bars as a result.
Editor's Note: Mr. Drobot is very lucky indeed he didn't get 30 days for calling Justice Joyal "a liar."


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