A manslaughter trial that was being heard in a New South Wales District Court has been abandoned after a juror has allegedly conducted ‘home experiments’ in relation to the evidence.
The jury had gone into deliberations following the trial which had been running for a period of three weeks. The manslaughter trial was in relation to Sergeant Matthew Kelly who is accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist (Jack Roberts, aged 28) during a Police pursuit at Blue Haven in 2020.
The foreman (who is a member of a jury in a court of law who is chosen by the other members to act as spokesperson for the jury) wrote a note to the Judge which explained that a juror has used a book, their body and a ruler to recreate the evidence that was presented. This is alleged misconduct as juror are not to conduct any of their own inquiries, or discuss evidence with anyone other than their fellow jurors and only when all jury members are present. The juror had allegedly recorded the results of their home experiment on a notepad and attempted to present their ‘evidence’ to the rest of the jury members who refused to listen. The foreman sought the jury member in question to be dismissed but to allow the remaining jury members to continue to deliberate. They would be required to provide undertakings to ignore any of the ‘evidence’ that was presented by the juror in question.
Defence Counsel made an application to discharge all jury members and sought the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider whether charges are to be laid against the juror in question. The maximum penalty in New South Wales for jury misconduct is two years imprisonment. The Crown attempted to have the one juror discharged and continue the Trial, however Judge Mahony later dismissed the jury.
A new trial date will be set at a later date with the estimated three weeks of evidence to be presented to a fresh jury.
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