A manslaughter trial collapsed after a juror decided to investigate the case himself.Can we hope this wanna-be Columbo will get the full bill? And is fully investigated for any links he might have with the defendant in the case?
Newcastle Crown Court had heard six days of evidence at an estimated cost to the public purse of more than £60,000 – not including additional legal fees for defence and prosecution lawyers.
But Judge David Hodson was forced to halt the trial yesterday after learning one of the jurors had been making his own inquiries into the case.
Judge Hodson halted the trial after being handed a three-page list containing more than 30 questions about the case – and a map from Google Earth of the scene.I think someone’s been reading too much Agatha Christie. At least, let’s hope that's all it is….
It then emerged one of the jurors had been carrying out his own investigations. The court heard the man had:
Been to the death scene and photographed it
Measured a fence which is at the centre of evidence
Carried out research into his own theories about what might have happened on the night.
Among the varied questions he passed to the judge included demands for more information on Patterson’s baggy skateboard-style clothing.
The middle-aged juror also wanted to know whether there were any clues from his mobile telephone and bank statements.
And he asked whether the jury could hear the audiotape of the police interview of a prosecution witness.