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Friday, 16 July 2010

Jury - The Verdict

Any of you could have sat in the public gallery and seen more of this interesting and unusual case than we did. You'd have got the lawyers arguments and all the fun stuff denied to us.

The defendant was accused of committing some sexual offences last year. Unfortunately, over subsequent months his health had declined to the point that the judge said he was "unfit to plead" - we would not be hearing from the man at all. He wasn't allowed to tell us if he was guilty or not. He just sat there silently in the dock throughout.

The question put to us was not the usual one of guilt - just whether he did the alleged acts with no account of what the judge called the "mental element". 

The poor defence barrister pointed out that he was unable to present us with an alternative version of events - all he could do was pick holes in the prosecution case.

So, after a couple of days, our foreman was asked if it was proved that the defendant had done the act. And all four times, the foreman said "No"

The judge told the defendant he was free to leave. I watched as he got to his feet, turned and walked out and closed the door behind him - still a complete stranger.

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