FEATURES

Interview with The Jury Room member Kerry Rutter
By James Whittington, Friday 2nd Jun 2017

New and exclusive to CBS Reality, The Jury Room is a compelling series that focuses on old cases and delivers evidence and accepted facts to a new jury. One of the members of our Jury is Kerry Rutter talks about her time on this unmissbale series.

CBSR: What is your day job?

KR: Full time live-in carer for a tetraplegic.

CBSR: Have you always had an interest in the workings of Court rooms?

KR: I’ve been waiting for the day I would be called for a Jury forever, and at the age of 42, have never been called for Jury duty yet. After watching my hero Judge Judy, I love how she says it how it is, ‘You’re a moron!’ From watching her for many years I can see how people’s emotions will cloud their reactions and what they feel they can go to court for. With her very black and white approach to ‘the law’ she makes things a lot simpler to remove emotions when going to court and as much as you empathise most of the time with the person that has been duped, she is also a good counsellor. She removes the rose tinted glasses from parents that think their child can do no wrong where others have probably not dared to go, and she shows women that have probably been to years of counselling without resolve and in one single moment she delivers a ‘slap in the face’ reality check with words that really hit home; ‘He’s a bum, he is amoral, but you picked him, you allowed him to do this’ and the amount of times I find myself getting wound up when I see a friend or a family member in similar situations and I have to not get involved unless they want me to, and how easy it is to loan money only to have it split you up, she makes me stop and think every day and I find myself thinking, what would Judge Judy say about this situation, and 9 out of 10 times I agree with her.

CBSR: What made you decide to be on this series?

KR: I’ve never considered myself as an ‘academic’ and thought this equated to intelligence and left school with a very low opinion of what I could achieve. I come from a very working class background and the law is so complicated that I never thought I could get a grip on it. My learning technique is that of a visual type, hence why certain types of vocations seemed unachievable to me, but as television has been driven more down a reality road, there are more and more vocations that you get to become a part of through their eyes. I find myself drawn to forensics, to autopsies, to real detective cases, to those on death row, to horrendous murderers and court cases and find myself shouting at the screen when someone is so obviously lying or holding back information or being really suspicious and try to solve the case before they reveal the answer on TV. As time goes on and I watch more and more, you start to learn about psychology of the criminal mind and I have to say I am fascinated by it. I’m fascinated in psychology as a whole, but criminal minds are often very intelligent people with a broken past.

There is the moral dilemma I battle with, ‘am I abnormally obsessed by it?’ I ask myself this question and try to console myself with the fact that the people that do these jobs obviously had enough interest to do degrees in it, so I’m not the only one! By listening to other people’s points of view and learning another piece of information you increase your knowledge. By mixing with different cultures and backgrounds that are very different to your own and learning to be less judgemental and becoming more open minded, you learn a sense of peace and become a better version of yourself. And I can honestly say, these programmes have acted as a wake-up call - a ‘boot camp’ for my emotions. I like to think I bring a fair judgement to any situation and believe I take on board all aspects of any information given to me and process it in a way that I can mediate quite well. I tend to be the friend that everyone comes to when they have a ‘dilemma’ because I think they value my, at times, brutal honesty, my moral compass, my way of looking at a situation from both sets of circumstances and will give an impartial view of what I see without feeling the need to follow others for followings sake and I can have a heated discussion without carrying it into our relationship. And so for all of this, I felt I was well suited to be a Juror.

CBSR: Did you have to prepare for each case or did you go into each one “cold”?

KR: We were given a brief outline as to what the case was about, but like I said, I’m a very visual person and need to see something first, before I can take it on board so until we saw what the viewers see, we had the same amount of information to make a decision on. We were never given anything like what a real Jury would be given in terms of evidence or allowed to see a person on the stand, as I think you get a lot from simply viewing peoples body language and how they interact with those in authority. We never got to listen to any expert witness’ or the tapes from being questioned. So I’d say we went into each one cold. Because I have been out of the country for several years, I had no prior knowledge of any of these cases so was completely unbiased in my decision making. I tried to keep as true as you can within the law, but was very aware of the emotional turmoil the conclusions may bring to those that it will affect, but they must hopefully realise that under the same circumstances as the real Jurors of the case, we may have indeed come to the same conclusions because they will have had more time to deliberate and will have been given a more full case to consider.

CBSR: What was a day in the studio like and how nervous were you?

KR: I’m actually very used to television, I’ve worked for many years on both sides of the camera but have never had the floor so to speak! It made me realise that ‘Loose Women’ is my ideal career path, if solving murders comes to nothing! The first day was nerve wracking and the first case gave very little to work with, so I found I was unnaturally quiet! The clothing we could wear left me wardrobless and I found I was melting under the lights in my inappropriate gear coupled with ‘my time of life!’.

CBSR: How did you control your emotions during recording or did you speak your mind all the way through?

KR: You had to allow others to make their points of view, and when you were in two minds on which way you believed it helped to hear different people’s opinions. If I wanted to say something, generally I said it, or someone dived in and said what I was going to say or you waited until you could make your point.

CBSR: Was it nerve-wracking?

KR: The first day was, but the fact that we all had gelled quite well before the filming helps with putting your point across in a respectful manner. I found the face to face camera interview more nerve-wracking than the programme.

CBSR: Would you appear in another series of The Jury Room?

KR: In a heartbeat. Was gutted when it was all over. The crew were simply lovely and the most inclusive of any programme I’ve ever worked on.

Kerry Rutter, thank you very much.

The Jury Room continues this Sunday at 10pm on CBS Reality.


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