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F E Smith
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Category: Law
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Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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The trial involves illuminating an aircraft in flight with a

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The trial involves illuminating an aircraft in flight with a torch. The presiding judge, whilst during a recess in proceedings, witnesses three/four jurors outside the court building, with one juror extending his arm skyward and moving it backwards and forwards. The judge, in open court, relieves the juror with his arm raised of his duties as a juror. Should those jurors present during the "meeting" also be relieved of their duties? Irrespective of the views of that one juror, surely the remainder are tainted?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

Can you explain the background situation in detail please?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
A jury of 12 are selected to try 13 counts of illuminating an aircraft in flight with a torch. During the first week of the trial, the presiding judge, during a stay in proceedings, saw three/four jurors outside the Crown Court building. One of the jurors had extended his arm skyward and moving it back and forth; a motion akin to possibly shining a torch in the sky. The judge, in the absence of the jury, discussed what he had seen in and suggested to the prosecution and defence that he was considering removing the juror from sitting on the jury. Following submissions made by both sides the juror was called into court and was relieved of his duties as a jury member. No reason was given to the juror but it had been established that he during the trial was not interested in the proceedings, kept sighing when witnesses were giving evidence and giving the impressions that he was bored. However, when seen by the judge, it is a possibility that whilst in the presence of other jurors, as described above, he may have made known to those present what his views were. This may have had a negative or positive impact on the decision of the jury who found the defendant guilty on all counts. Why just dismiss the one juror, surely the others are also amenable to being removed. There is no doubt in the mind of the judge that by his actions they were discussing the case otherwise why dismiss him.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 2 months ago.

It would be for the defence counsel to raise the issue with the judge to have the jury dismissed. The decision would be the judges.

Clearly, the judge had his reasons not to dismiss them all. Although jurors are not supposed to discuss cases outside the jury room, it does go on, it’s just that this genre happened to get caught.

The situation here is a little like it would be when the judge makes the comment “the jury shall disregard that last remark”. If the jury were dismissed every time that happened, trials would never come to an end. By virtue of the fact that the comment was made, in situations like that, the jury must be tainted and the disregard of the remark has to be noted within the jury proceedings and discussions.

Ultimately, if a defendant thinks that his defence has been prejudiced by the judges actions in not removing all the jewellery, then the defendant would have to appeal.

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Best wishes.


F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8445
Experience: I have been practising for 30 years.
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