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Jurors under scrutiny for allegedly breaking rules

Jurors under scrutiny for allegedly breaking rules

A juror mis-using social media and another not admitting to a conflicted relationship are under scrutiny by the sheriff in NSW.

The Full Bench of the NSW Court of Appeal has ordered an investigation into allegations that a juror in a sexual assault trial published a Facebook post calling for ‘sex predators’ to be ‘put down like dogs’, just a day before returning a verdict of guilty in a sexual assault case.

The defendant stood trial in Broken Hill District Court on 6 December 2016 charged with sexual intercourse taking advantage of cognitive impairment.

The jury brought down a unanimous verdict of guilty on 13 December 2016. The defendant was sentenced to a full term of four years’ imprisonment, with a minimum term of two years and six months.

In October 2018, the defendant’s lawyers asked the sheriff of NSW to investigate information to the effect that, a day before delivering verdict, a jury posted to Facebook:

“When a dog attacks a child it is put down. Shouldn’t we do the same with sex predators?”.

The post was accompanied by a photograph of rooms and implements by which executions are undertaken.

The convicted man’s affidavit claimed that the same juror was related by marriage to a complainant who had previously alleged that the same defendant had sexually assaulted her. That allegation had been disposed of by way of a verdict of not guilty in the same court six months earlier.

It was additionally alleged that another juror in the same trial “was often seen socialising with one of the key witnesses who was called to evidence”.

Now, as the sentenced man appeals near the end of his non-parole period, two jurors are the ones coming under suspicion.

– from a report by Ugur Nedim, principal of Sydney Criminal Lawyers

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