Breastfeeding mother's appeal over jury service in Winchester

image captionZoe Stacey is unhappy about being summoned for jury service whilst breastfeeding her two-month-old son

A mother has been told she must attend court for jury service despite wanting to breastfeed her baby.

Zoe Stacey, from Eastleigh, Hampshire, has been told her jury service in May at Winchester Crown Court can be deferred within a 12-month period.

But she said she wanted to breastfeed her son William for longer than a year, and has appealed against the decision.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service said it was "investigating the facts of the case".

Mother-of-two Mrs Stacey, who had her request to be excused from service rejected by the Jury Central Summoning Bureau, said she breastfed her older son, Thomas, for longer than a year.

She added she had initially found it difficult to breastfeed William, who is two months old, as he had a tongue-tie - where the strip of skin connecting the baby's tongue to the bottom of their mouth is shorter than usual.

Mrs Stacey said: "I do feel strongly about being able to breastfeed for as long as possible, and not wanting to leave him for the next year... I think they need to show more compassion to new parents.

'Precious time'

"It's very tiring having a new child. I wouldn't want to have someone sat on the jury who was exhausted or couldn't pay full attention.

"If anyone's on parental leave they should be exempt from it. It's precious time and should be protected, and the court should recognise that."

Her appeal is due to be considered by a judge at Winchester Crown Court.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service said: "Crown court practice is to defer new mums that are breastfeeding. We are investigating the facts of this case."

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