Page last updated at 15:10 GMT, Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Woman, 108, gets jury duty call

Marion Richardson
Mrs Richardson celebrated her 108th birthday with family and friends

A woman who celebrated her 108th birthday at the weekend has been called for jury duty despite being more than 40 years over the age limit.

Marion Richardson, from Airdrie in North Lanarkshire, has told how she had a great laugh when learned she had been selected as a potential juror.

Her family contacted the sheriff clerk's office to see if she qualified for exemption because of her age.

They were told the age limit for jurors was actually 65.

The Scottish Government last year outlined proposals to raise the limit to 70.

Mrs Richardson is believed to be the oldest person in North Lanarkshire.

She received a letter last week which informed her she had been listed as a potential juror for a forthcoming trial at Airdrie Sheriff Court.

Her grandson, David Gracie, 64, told the BBC news website: "The letter gave us a right hoot.

We have been telling everyone the jury duty story. It has given us a great laugh
David Gracie
"My sister contacted the court to let them know that grandmother was 108 years old.

"I think jury selection is done using the voters' roll and that does not list ages, so no-one is at fault. It is just something that happens."

Mrs Richardson still lives in her own home in Airdrie with her daughter.

She was born in Peebles in 1901 and moved to Lanarkshire with her husband, Charles, when she was 19.

She had three children, 12 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and 21 great great-grandchildren.

Mr Gracie added: "Believe me if she had been fit for it, and allowed to, she would have gone and done her jury duty.

"She is always game for a laugh and her mind is still very active."

Her grandson told how she keeps busy by being involved with her local church and various organisations.

Random selection

He added: "You should have seen her house for her birthday on Saturday.

"There were visitors coming and going from 10 in the morning till after eight at night.

"We have been telling everyone the jury duty story. It has given us a great laugh."

A spokesman for the Scottish Court Service said: "Anyone over 65 is exempt from serving so the lady in question will not be required to attend for jury service.

"The service normally sends out an letter to potential jurors selected at random from the electoral roll.

"Recipients are asked to reply indicating if they believe themselves to be exempt and the letter provides details of those who qualify as exempt from service."

He added: "If people reply to this letter and are exempt we would not call them for jury duty."

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