MP3 Juror On Contempt Charge
A woman who was thrown off a murder trial jury for allegedly listening to an MP3 player while the accused was giving evidence appeared in court today....
A woman who was thrown off a murder trial jury for allegedly listening to an MP3 player while the accused was giving evidence appeared in court today.
The 20-year-old Muslim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, faces a charge of contempt of court. She was arrested several weeks ago after a fellow juror spotted headphone wires poking out from the side of her hijab.
At the time, a pensioner accused of bludgeoning his wife to death after 50 years of marriage was giving evidence. The hearing, at Blackfriars crown court in London, was temporarily halted while the juror was discharged and then arrested.
Today, judge Aidan Marron QC said he regarded her case as both "difficult" and "fundamentally important", though he added that he would not rule on it today.
He told the woman, who was again wearing her traditional headscarf as she stood in the dock: "I regret very much indeed not being able to resolve this difficult case today.
"I can understand the real anxiety she and her family have, but I am afraid this is so important it is of fundamental importance that we get it right."
In the light of the gravity of the matter, he said, it was necessary to adjourn the hearing until an amicus - a barrister representing the court - had been appointed to help present the case properly.
"I will endeavour to deal with this case on Thursday, when counsel will be appointed to assist the court. But ultimately, if by Thursday that proves to be impossible, then this case will resume on Monday August 6."
Earlier, the judge told Helen Curtis, defending: "Having looked very carefully at this case, at the heart of it is whether this young lady deliberately ignored the case."
Other matters that caused complaint at the time, such as the woman arriving late at court, would not be treated as contempt, he said.
"These matters to my mind demonstrate mindset, but they do not constitute contempt.
"The fundamentally important allegation is whether she was deliberately ignoring the evidence by listening to music. I am going to concentrate on that."
In the meantime, he wanted the woman to "reflect on her position".
He added that the case would have to be tried at another court because of the danger that he and other judges at Blackfriars would know some of the potential witnesses.