A JUROR caused a sex assault case to collapse by turning detective and conducting his own probe.
Gary Henderson, 57, told the jury he had visited the alleged scene, a lay-by, to check if drivers could have seen anything happen there.
Gary Henderson, 57, told the jury he had visited the alleged scene, a lay-by, to check if drivers could have seen anything happen there[/caption]
His actions defied a judge’s warning about carrying out research separate from evidence given in court. The trial was abandoned in November 2017 at a £12,000 cost to the taxpayer.
Prosecutor Emma Atkinson said Henderson was a “solitary figure” on the jury but “forceful and aggressive” in believing the defendant was guilty.
She told Teesside crown court: “A number of jurors felt intimidated by him which resulted in them not joining in discussions.” When a lay-by was raised in evidence, local Henderson felt other jurors had got the wrong idea about its size and proximity to the A689 into Hartlepool.
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After a week of evidence he went to the lay-by and reported his findings, the court heard.
Damian Sabino, mitigating, said Henderson, of Redcar, had lived in the area for 40 years and passed the spot “10,000 times”.
He said an incident in his client’s past “might explain his views in the trial”. Henderson admitted breaching the Juries Act. He got a six-month jail term, suspended for 18 months.
Judge Simon Bourne-Arton told him his actions forced witnesses to relive the ordeal of giving evidence. The defendant was also put “through the strain” of a retrial, where he was cleared, the court heard.
Henderson was handed a got a six-month jail term, suspended for 18 months at Teesside County Court[/caption]
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