Smelly juror halts murder trial at the Old Bailey

Smelly juror halts murder trial at the Old Bailey

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A jury empanelled to try four defendants accused of the murder of Jamie Sanderson has been discharged on day 3 of the trial.  The jury sitting at the Old Bailey were discharged following a complainant from one juror that the person sitting next to her had a rather distinct odour.

The unnamed juror felt the smell was so bad that on day two of the trial she wrote to the judge, HHJ Wendy Joseph, complaining that she couldn’t concentrate.  The Judge opted to discharge the jury, 2 days and 1 hour into a trial expected to last weeks, at a cost to the tax payer of almost £9,000. 

Alternative options had been canvassed, including discharging the allegedly smelly juror, but defence counsel were obviously opposed to having a jury of just 11 try such an important case.  The Court discussed the possibility of moving the juror to another part of the courtroom, but rejected this as it would ostracise the man and would not solve the issue once the jury had retired to consider their verdict.  The juror had also been spoken to about his cleanliness by the Court Matron but unfortunately this did not solve the problem.

The trial has now restarted, with a different jury.

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Sara is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers practising in crime.

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