back to article Juror jailed for looking up rape defendant on Google

A juror who used Google to search for a defendant in a rape case in Luton was jailed for six months yesterday for contempt of court. Academic Dr Theodora Dallas, 34, told fellow jurors that the man on trial for sexual assault had previously been accused of rape after finding a newspaper article about him on the internet. Her …

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  1. Atonnis
    Thumb Up

    Good!

    'Theodora Dallas, 34, told fellow jurors that the man on trial for sexual assault had previously been accused of rape after finding a newspaper article about him on the internet'

    '....but I honestly wasn't influencing anyone...I wasn't trying to put any sort of preconceived notions in anyones' heads - honest, guv!'

    Good. I'm glad people are getting punished properly for contempt of court. Now all we need is the criminals in this country to get punished properly for contempt of victim.

    1. tmTM

      Why

      Was this not brought to light in the case.

      Is it illegal to say "oh and by the way, this fella has a history of this, look he was at it two years ago"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yes. It predisposes the jury against a fair trial for the current offence based on the available evidence, collected by legal means. Hence, if someone can challenge how the evidence was gathered, e.g. illegal 'phone tapping, the charge can be dismissed Hearsay is not admissible and the British assumption is innocence until proved guilty.

        I think that previous offences may be considered only in certain, very restricted and defined cases where it is relevant to the charge (not the judgement)..

        1. Sarev
          Flame

          For fuck's sake...

          > the British assumption is innocence until proved guilty.

          NO. It's innocent UNLESS proven guilty. Repeat after me: unless, unless, unless.

          Saying "until" pre-supposes that you're already guilty. Saying "unless" indicates that you could be innocent or guilty.

          1. Michael Dunn
            Headmaster

            Unless

            The very point I have made in comments on a number of occasions.

      2. Martin

        There could be several reasons...

        IANAL - but I'm married to one...so I know a BIT about this.

        1) He may have been accused of rape and found not guilty. If that's the case, it's certainly true that the previous case should have nothing to do with it.

        2) In general a previous conviction has nothing to do with the current one. You've got to PROVE the case - and saying "well, look, it must have been him, he's done it all those other times" isn't proof that he did it this time. Having said that, a prosecutor CAN apply to get "previous bad character" in as supporting evidence - but there has to be a good justification.

        Previous convictions ARE taken into account when sentencing, of course.

        1. Mectron

          ok then

          it make non sense. the judge BIAS is judgement because of PREVIOUS conviction but the jury cannot? how more broken a justice system can be? more provision to protect the CRIMINAL.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Because

        1) He quite possibly *wasn't* 'at it two years ago'.

        2) The article could be about someone else with the same name.

        3) Where would be the point in telling a jury this if it didn't influence them?

        4) If it did influence them, the verdict would be biased by information irrelevant to the current case.

    2. LordBrian

      The truth

      The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth - unless it's deemed unfair or prejudice. Having worked a a defence lawyer in the courts of London for a few years I would think that a huge amount of scum go free because the full facts are never heard.

      Of course if you think the jury are so stupid they cannot evaluate things like past convictions then you may just get the criminal justice system you deserve.

      1. Graham Marsden
        WTF?

        @LordBrian

        So you're in favour of scrapping the concept of Presumption of Innocence and instead going for a system of Guilt by Association??

        1. LordBrian

          That's the kind of thing law students learn and not what happens in the real world. Often cases are bartered to a conclusion before a jury ever gets to hear them. And if you think previous character has nothing to do with the likelihood of offending well just go sit in on sentencing for a day or so.

          It works both ways, having worked for a charity that looked at high profile appeals before the CRB maybe if all the evidence was initially disclosed we wouldn't need to pay billions to lawyers for appeals.

          Positive PR by the legal system has kept the jury system sacrosanct but it is as fallible as any other system and having heard jury members discussing "he looks nice he could not have done it..." in the cafe really does fill you with confidence.

          1. ThomH Silver badge

            @LordBrian

            An unproven previous allegation of criminal behaviour says nothing about character. And I believe relevant previous convictions are already admissible as evidence of propensity?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @LordBrian

        Your whole attitude proves that this information would influence a decision so I am baffled by your thinking. It is also a proven fact that information like this leads to miscarriages of justice, people start to think they might be letting a criminal go free and this sways their judgement.

        Not to mention the fact that he was found innocent so in the eyes of the law it didn't happen.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        I'll call your bluff..

        I don't think you've ever worked as defence lawyer.

        "Of course if you think the jury are so stupid they cannot evaluate things like past convictions"

        for starters, juries are not told of previous convictions except in exceptional circumstances. Only once found guilty is this taken into account,.

        "I would think that a huge amount of scum go free because the full facts are never heard."

        Isn't this the point of obtaining evidence and not basing a case on hearsy and "lawyers" presumptions on what consitutes "scum". If that were the case, many of us would agree that the first people to be banged up should be many of the lawyers themselves.

        "then you may just get the criminal justice system you deserve."

        Good, I hope we do get the one where a person is entitled to a fair trial, regardless of what rumours someone has heard on the internet.

        1. LordBrian

          I'll bite with an LL.B and LL.M

          "for starters, juries are not told of previous convictions except in exceptional circumstances. Only once found guilty is this taken into account" ... true and your point ?

          "Isn't this the point of obtaining evidence and not basing a case on hearsy and "lawyers" presumptions on what consitutes "scum". If that were the case, many of us would agree that the first people to be banged up should be many of the lawyers themselves." ... if you think most trials are about evidence then please go to your local court and see how they work. Would not disagree with lawyers being banged up. They do their best to get an acquittal despite often knowing that the defendant is guilty.

          "Good, I hope we do get the one where a person is entitled to a fair trial, regardless of what rumours someone has heard on the internet." ... no you get an adversarial system where parties try to suggest each other is lying and the truth is often overlooked. This isn't Judge John Deed, real life isn't all roses.

          I once got a defendant a non custodial sentence for smashing a brick into his girlfriends face.... not a proud moment.

          1. ThomH Silver badge

            @LordBrian (again)

            As you'll be aware, it's an axiom of the criminal justice system is that nobody should go to jail unless it is proven beyond reasonable doubt that they performed a crime. That protects the liberty of everyone.

            If you accept that principle should be protected then you accept that lawyers should be able to argue before the court simply that the evidence doesn't support a conviction. That's ethical even if the lawyer believes the client is guilty and in no way involves misleading or manipulating the court.

            1. LordBrian

              @ThomH I would not disagree with you but banging up a women for 6 months because she broke what I would regard as an outdated precedent just feels wrong when real nasty people go free.

              The argument that she cost the taxpayer lots of money for a retrial is the same when the police or lawyers withhold evidence but very rarely are they even called to account or the judges that fall asleep in the middle of trials (been to two appeals where retrials were ordered) but didn't hear about them doing any hard time. I quite simply don't think the punishment fits the crime - yes fine her or community service but 6 months for me is way over the top.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                FAIL

                @LordBrian

                The other big problem is that the police likely trawl through the "known offenders" first when looking for a suspect. This would increase the likelihood of a perp. with form being in the dock. In this light, the jury considering "previous" becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

                Just because they did it before doesn't mean that they did it this time, for the reasons above.

                And it does not justify it EVEN IF you see cases where someone with form "got away with it". If the evidence is not strong enough to stand on its own, then it is not strong enough, full stop.

          2. Martin
            FAIL

            "I once got a defendant a non custodial sentence for smashing a brick into his girlfriends face.... not a proud moment."

            No you didn't. He either pleaded guilty or was found guilty, and the sentence was not a matter for you. You just did your job, which was to defend him to the best of your ability. If the prosecution couldn't prove GBH, or the bench was too soft, that's not your problem.

        2. Fatman
          Pint

          RE: I'll call your bluff

          I must agree with one of your comments.

          As a juror in a criminal DUI trial over a decade ago, we were NOT aware that the defendant had previous convictions for DUI.

          Based on the evidence presented in this case, and IN THIS CASE ONLY, we found the guy guilty. (P.S. The video of his staggering to "walk the line" did it. Only AFTER we rendered the guilty verdict, did we find out that he had FOUR previous DUI convictions. As we left the courtroom, if anyone had any doubts, that revelation (4 previous convictions) must have put them to rest.

          1. ThomH Silver badge

            @Fatman

            Experiences of a decade ago aren't so relevant — the Criminal Justice Act 2003 significantly changed the rules concerning the admissibility of evidence of bad character, which includes prior convictions. It was one of David Blunkett's sops towards the Daily Mail gang so the changes are all towards greater admissibility, albeit that they go nowhere near where the straw man Daily Mail reader would like.

      4. VOICEofJUSTICE

        If you believe that his sentence was too harsh please sign this petition in her support. Thanks.

        http://www.change.org/petitions/kenneth-clark-justice-for-theodora-dallas-2?share_id=tSTOavMcDP&

        1. Vic

          > If you believe that his sentence was too harsh

          I don't. I think it's about right, TBH.

          The petition letter claims she was trying 'to clarify the accurate legal meaning of "grievous bodily harm" ' and she 'had no intention of influencing the jury'.

          If this were true, the proper course of action would be to inform the Court (which had explicitly told her not to look stuff up), and to be very careful not to tell any other juror. But that is not the course she took.

          That's not just an accidental occurrence; it is, at best, negligence. At its worst, it is disdain for the court system. Either of the above counts as "contempt of court".

          Vic.

      5. Atonnis
        FAIL

        You're finally twigging...

        We live in a nation where people gawp and blather about the latest x-factor contestants or some idiots all sat round a fake campfire and asked to perform grotesque acts for 'entertainment'.

        95+% of the people I used to know who lived in state housing were over-reactionary, ready-to-convict/assault/abuse/irreparably maim anyone on a made-up rumour of criminal activity that involved sexual misconduct.

        If you genuinely believe that people aren't ready to convict on the basis of bloody-mindedness, rumour, lies, innuend or, tabloid bullsh*t then you must have been a dreadful lawyer.

        I once sat on a jury where two women were ready to convict a young man on the basis that 'he just looks like the sort'. It took a lot of persuasion, and eventually scorn, before they woke up enough to read the facts of the case and not just listen to the (excessively overacted and blatantly overdone) sob story of the plaintiff.

      6. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  2. Nick 10

    I don't know how she can claim "I didn't realise it was wrong.". When I did jury service, we were told once by the usher, by the judge at the start of the trial, and again by the judge before being sent home "Don't discuss the trial with anyone other then the rest of the jury, and don't look it up on the internet, facebook or twitter." You'd really have to struggle to not understand that.

    1. Ian Yates

      I came on to say the same: they made it very clear that looking up the case details online was a big no-no.

      1. Martijn Bakker
        Flame

        Contempt of court

        This makes me angry.

        [rant]

        I never was a big fan of jury trials. But do you seriously expect these people to base their decisions solely on the information they are given?

        Of course the internet is full of lies. But so are most lawyers and a large number of witnesses. It's not as if you're not trusting your jurors to separate the truth from the lies. Why should jurors be required to base important decisions on a lack of pertinent information?

        It seems to me that any court insisting on uninformed jury decisions deserves all the contempt we can muster.

        [/rant]

        1. Graham Marsden
          FAIL

          @Martijn Bakker

          "I never was a big fan of jury trials."

          Really? So you prefer, instead, a kangaroo court or lynch mob where the defendant *may* get a chance to protest their innocence before they're "given a fair trial and then hanged"?

        2. Annihilator
          Thumb Down

          @Martijn Bakker

          "do you seriously expect these people to base their decisions solely on the information they are given?"

          Yes, how is that even slightly difficult to comprehend? A judge rules on whether something is admissible in court, namely based on whether it is a legitimate piece of evidence. Someone being accused of something in the past is not a relevant piece of evidence and shouldn't be considered.

          Lawyers from *both* sides put forward evidence. You're whinging as if only one side is put across and that jurors are being denied frivolous information. Juries are not "uninformed", they are informed of the pertinent pieces of information, not whatever they can find on Google or wikipedia. If past convictions or even accusations were even slightly relevant, we could save ourselves a whole lot of trouble and just wheel the same burglar into court for every breaking and entry charge.

        3. Martin
          FAIL

          You what??

          "Of course the internet is full of lies. But so are most lawyers and a large number of witnesses."

          Witnesses do lie, without a doubt. But, in court, lawyers don't. If they did, and it was discovered that they had lied, they would have the proverbial book thrown at them - not forgetting the cost to the public purse of a possible retrial.

          And the suggestion that you go out and trawl the internet to find out what you can about the case is just stupid. If the information is pertinent, it will be used as evidence, either by the defence or the prosecution. If it is not, it won't. And if it's not been discovered by either the prosecution or the defence, why on earth do you think that a quick trawl on the internet by a juror will turn it up? Must more likely it'll turn up some information which makes it impossible to give the defendant a fair trial.

          (By the way - if the prosecution has some evidence which will help the defence's case, they MUST disclose it to the defence. The defence has no such obligation. It's the job of the prosecution to PROVE the case.)

          It is the job of the police to find the evidence. It is the job of the opposing counsels to put each side's case. It is the jury's job to listen to both sides, evaluate the evidence and to make the judgment.

        4. Vic

          > But do you seriously expect these people to base their decisions

          > solely on the information they are given?

          Yes.

          HTH, HAND, etc.

          Vic.

        5. Bill B

          @Martijn Bakker

          The system of Jury trials is that the jury must be convinced, beyond all reasonable doubt, on the basis of the evidence that is presented before them, that the person is guilty. There are a number of things here that guard against arbitrary justice (mob rule, kangaroo courts or the decision of a single person).

          Firstly the person must be proven guilty. Not proven innocent but proven guilty. Note that mob justice is often the other way round.

          Secondly it is 'beyond reasonable doubt'. If a jury thinks 'he might have done it' then its not good enough to find the person guilty.

          Thirdly it is 'on the basis of the evidence'. It is the job of the police and prosecution to gather and present evidence, the job of the defence to test that the evidence is properly gathered and not just made up. It is the job of the jury to listen to what is said and weigh up and make a decision based on what is said.

          The system is imperfect. A lot of people who have committed a crime may go free. The lawyer may be rubbish and fail to extract proper witness evidence or highlight significant evidence. The police may fail to gather sufficient evidence. The jury may have a concious or unconcious bias (the accused was ugly/black/gay/a woman/looks like a criminal/done it before). But it's the system we have and it's a damn sight better than the knee jerk justice of mob rule.

        6. PatientOne

          @Martijn Bakker

          1) Yes: We do expect the jury to base their decisions solely on the information they are given *IN RELATION TO THE CURRENT CASE*. Unless there is evidence to support a link to a previous case, and said link is accepted by the Judge, then previous convictions and certainly accusations are irrelevant.

          2) The Internet and the media are full of lies, half-truths, opinions and deceptions. You don't have to look far in the news to see examples of this, and unless you research those stories carefully, you'll be led to the wrong conclusion.

          3) It's the courts' job is to filter out the misinformation and focus on the supportable facts. No personal opinions, beliefs or judgements: Just the facts. Professional opinions are allowed from independent witnesses, who may appear for the defense or prosecution, but are reminded to remain impartial.

          4) It is the job of the prosecution and defense to ensure that all pertinent facts are presented.

          5) The whole purpose of a trial is to ensure the jury can make an INFORMED decision. Otherwise why bother presenting the evidence to them?

          Does that make sense now?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Nick 10

      "I don't know how she can claim "I didn't realise it was wrong."."

      She also tried to claim she misunderstood the instructions because she has a poor grasp of English, she's a university lecturer FFS!

      I would have given her 6 months for contempt and another year for taking the piss.

      1. cs94njw
        FAIL

        Says a lot about the University of Bedfordshire...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Nick 10

      And she's an academic!! I know we get undergrads applying to, and even entering our universities, unable to put a coherent sentence together or add fractions, but surely at the end of a university course things would have improved somewhat.

  3. Anonymous Cowbard

    JUROR JAILED FOR...

    ...TELLING FELLOW JURORS THAT SHE'D LOOKED UP RAPE DEFENDANT ON GOOGLE.

    There fixed the headline for you.

    I'd imagine that many jurors do their own research, despite being told not to. Most aren't so stupid as to tell anybody.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Eh?

      Hope you are never allowed onto a jury.

      Fair trial? Let's look it up on Wikipedia.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Grasp of common sense

    not that good either

    1. Thomas 4

      I'm sorry my English isn't good enough to understand the instructions given...

      ...but it's certainly good enough to understand what's being said in court about the case and what I read about the defendant on reliable news sources like Yahoo and The Sun.

      ....actually scratch that last bit.

  5. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    She was told

    And now the state has to pay for another trial. Also, if her grasp of spoken English is not so good, why is she teaching psychology in the UK?

    1. Grease Monkey

      More importantly if her understanding of spoken English was poor what was she doing on a jury. As a juror you must be able to understand the proceedings. If there is any impediment to your ability to understand court proceedings a potential juror should inform the court.

    2. Powelly

      @She was told

      "Also, if her grasp of spoken English is not so good, why is she teaching psychology in the UK?"

      Or indeed serving on the jury in the first place. If she was being truthful there then you'd have to wonder how she'd grasp the subtleties of the case if she couldn't grasp the subtleties of 'Don't look them up on the web'.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Poor English & Jury

        I think they need to vet and test people before a trial.

        Think of it this way.

        Do you want an intelligent and dilligent person on the jury?

        Do you want someone who does not fully understand what is happening?

        Do you want a bigot?

    3. PatientOne

      @disgruntled yank

      The case has already had that second trial. This story could not be published until then as it could prejudice the case.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dallas does disobedience

    and promptly goes down.

  7. SJRulez

    This seems to be happening quite a lot lately.

    Incidentally though there was a case near us recently where a juror looked someone up and found evidence of convictions the defendant had as a child but which weren't allowed to be mentioned in court (the juror kept it to himself).

    The defendant was found innocent after a witness for the prosecution was torn apart by the defense team over some minor convictions they had, it later came out in the open that he had been accused multiple times of rape and convicted as a young offender. The juror subsequently told the local paper what he found and wished he had risked the contempt of court.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Evidence of past crimes and convictions is not evidence of guilt in the case before the court. It's really that simple. Past convictions may however be taken into account when sentencing if found guilty.

      Evidence of past crimes and convictions may however affect the credibility of a witness which is why they may be unearthed with impunity.

      In simplistic terms; the prosecution have to prove the defendant is lying and prove witness giving evidence against are not. The defence will seek to prove those witnesses are lying but don't have an obligation to prove the defendant isn't; innocent until proven guilty.

      1. Vic

        > innocent until proven guilty.

        Innocent *unless* proven guilty. It's an important distinction.

        Vic.

      2. peter 45
        Holmes

        Which is why.....

        "Evidence of past crimes and convictions may however affect the credibility of a witness..." but evidence of past crimes and convictions however may not be used to affect the credibility of the accused (except under very narrow and specific cirmumstances).

        That strikes us normal people as a tad one sided. No doubt legally correct and necessary to provide the accused a fair trial by having no trace of influence on this trial from past history, but still unfair to my definition. As a normal person unburdened by years of legal training and legal niceties, would I be tempted to redress the balance? Yep. Am I wrong not to bow the combined wisdom of the cleverest in the land. Probably, but I would still be tempted.

        1. Vic

          > That strikes us normal people as a tad one sided.

          Not me. Are you implying I'm not normal?

          Vic.

          1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

            @Peter 45

            "That strikes us normal people as a tad one sided."

            Well, maybe it does. Until you find yourself in the dock, wrongly accused of something...

    2. Jon Press

      "Wished he had risked the contempt of court"

      Why? So he could have persuaded the rest of the jury to convict the defendant of crimes other than those for which he was on trial?

      It's precisely because of that level of wilful stupidity that the penalties for jurors have to be so harsh.

    3. Craig Chambers
      Stop

      Why the downvotes?

      The above comment merely reports that a juror told the paper that they had also broken the rules. The downvotes appear to imply that the poster agreed with the juror in question, which they state nowhere in the text.

  8. Anonymous John

    "sometimes my grasp of English is not that good"

    She could speak it well enough to be a university lecturer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Some University

      We are talking about what used to be Luton College of Further Education, back in the day, here, so not a real university at the forefront of higher education.

      St.Albans snob who went to public school and a real university. ;-)

    2. Chris Miller

      "well enough to be a university lecturer"

      In Psychology, at Luton.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah...the old adage...

    Normally applied to the more destructive clubs (e.g. Rugby, Bullingdon...) "You don't have to be intelligent to go to university".

    Her behaviour is fairly typical of the "I've got a PhD, therefore I'm infallible" attitude that seems to affect some academics.

  10. MJI Silver badge

    Contempt punisments

    I have noticed that often they are stricter than punishments for the original crimes.

    What good would 3 months in jail do?

    Apart from learning crime.

    I think non custodial punishments are better here (eg community service).

    These are lapses of judgements, not going out, hurting people/robbing people ect.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      It serves as both a punishment for her and a deterrent to others. Contempt of Court is a serious matter.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Maybe but not as serious

        as rape.

        As above I reckon non custodial is better, she has now been introduced to the best place to learn how to commit crimes.

        She will also have the resentment of 3 months wasted for being stupid as opposed to being evil.

        High chance she will come out and be a criminal now.

        1. 5.antiago
          FAIL

          "High chance she will come out and be a criminal now"

          Jesus, really? What a simplistic world you live in... Prison doesn't just automatically swap your brain out for a "Criminal" one. It depends on whether you *want* to be a criminal too....

          1. MJI Silver badge

            RE: 5.antiago

            Actually thinking about it there is.

            She doesn't think she deserves the 3 months, she will feel resentment for it, while she is inside she will be with criminals who could teach her how to do certain crimes, she will also have problems getting employment.

            Do not overlook the power of resentment.

            I am not saying she will but that she could. She will have the feeling that she needs to do something to be worth the three months.

            I have seen similar with motoring offences, people picked on* (I did know them, and knew the area - there was targeting and the Police admitted it) and after the fines and points, sort of gave up caring.

            Cars doing 60 overtaking bike doing 50 bike was pulled and prosecuted. Me - I solved it by moving to a nicer area, being pulled for "overtaking a Police car" while being fully legal annoyed me.

            1. 5.antiago

              @ MJI

              I agree in general with what you're trying to say, but I'm saying that you're mistaken to think there is a high chance that this particular woman will become a criminal based on three months in jail. My thoughts are based on my own assumptions that a female university lecturer will likely exhibit certain character traits, likely not mix with the Luton underworld, and so on. These are assumptions, but are more likely than your assumptions:

              "She doesn't think she deserves the 3 months" - this is a major assumption. It sounds a little bit more like *you* don't think she deserves it. But let's credit the psychology lecturer with the ability to put herself in another's shoes and work out why UK society believes she deserves the time. She's done something wrong, you see.

              "She will feel resentment for it" - again, an assumption. More probably, when she's back out she will be relieved, not filled with indiscriminate rage against others in society. If she has underworld friends then maybe they will be telling her "f**k the police" and all that; more likely she has normal friends who will offer sympathetic support but reinforce the idea that she got caught doing something wrong and the punishment was not unfair

              "while she is inside she will be with criminals who could teach her how to do certain crimes" - well I don't know about her but I know I wouldn't want to hang out with actual criminals in prison, and they wouldn't trust me or open up to me because I'm clearly not one of them. Also I suspect that the deterrent effect of prison would work well on me, and probably on this woman too.

              "I am not saying she will but that she could" - nah, you said it's a high chance. I'm just saying that it's not. I do understand what you're trying to say, but just think it applies more to miscarriages of justice and this is not a miscarriage of justice. I get your motoring comparison (i.e. normal people caught breaking a law feel resentment) but this law is so much more serious than speeding fines. A better comparison would be with drink driving - if you are a normal person and you get caught doing that then no one lets you feel "resentment" because your punishment is just.

              1. MJI Silver badge

                RE : 5.antiago again

                Thanks for understanding what I meant. Sometimes it is difficult to expalin and I am a native English speaker!!!!

                Legal system hate I have come across back in the 80s & early 90s where both the first juror and the traffic picking on happened.

                What was telling, was that when I visited this area (my parents and friends) I was often pulled for a check (bike or car) but never around what is now home. When you have experienced that you tend to look down on the legal profession.

            2. DaveyDaveDave
              WTF?

              "being pulled for "overtaking a Police car" while being fully legal annoyed me."

              So, presumably you won the case easily, when you appealed the ticket in court?

              1. MJI Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re DaveyDaveDave

                What court appearance?

                I was pulled for overtaking a Police car doing 20mph in a 30mph limit.

                Then you get grilled for half hour, why did you overtake, what were you doing, where are you going ect ect?

                Harrasment I think. It happened a lot in that area and time. Only decent Police you came across were traffic division, the annoying ones were not traffic division but did a lot of traffic Policing.

                NOTE: later on I had a friend in Traffic and he didn't like the above either.

                1. Vic

                  > I was pulled for overtaking a Police car doing 20mph in a 30mph limit.

                  30mph limits are generally residential. Whilst overtaking possibilities exist, they are necessarily limited. The police car doing 20mph is a bit of a giveaway that *he* believes visibility to be limited.

                  > Then you get grilled for half hour, why did you overtake, what were you doing

                  If the police driver was correct in his assessment - and many of them are P1s, so that's a reasonable assumption - then he saw you performing a dangerous overtake in a situation where visibility was so restricted as to cause him to drive slowly. I should say you got off lightly.

                  > Harrasment I think.

                  Actually, it sounds to me like a copper doing his job. Why do you consider your opinion of the safe speed for that situation to be more appropriate that a professional driver with much more training and experience than you've got?

                  Vic.

                  1. MJI Silver badge

                    Re : Vic

                    I was pulled for overtaking a Police car doing 20mph in a 30mph limit.

                    30mph limits are generally residential. Whilst overtaking possibilities exist, they are necessarily limited. The police car doing 20mph is a bit of a giveaway that *he* believes visibility to be limited.

                    No it is because they wanted to pull someone, no houses, 4 lane road

                    Then you get grilled for half hour, why did you overtake, what were you doing

                    If the police driver was correct in his assessment - and many of them are P1s, so that's a reasonable assumption - then he saw you performing a dangerous overtake in a situation where visibility was so restricted as to cause him to drive slowly. I should say you got off lightly.

                    Rubbish it was a 4 lane road and I was in the right hand lane on our side, he was going slowly to get people to overtake.

                    Harrasment I think.

                    Actually, it sounds to me like a copper doing his job. Why do you consider your opinion of the safe speed for that situation to be more appropriate that a professional driver with much more training and experience than you've got?

                    My opinion was 4 lane road, little traffic, no houses backing on to it, 30mph limit, 20mph is taking the piss.

                    Actually they were not traffic and traffic I found later didn't like them. Just 2 cops in a car pissing off people.

                    1. Vic

                      > No it is because they wanted to pull someone, no houses, 4 lane road

                      It is very rare to find such a road designated as a 30mph limit. Perhaps you'd like to tell us which road it was...

                      Vic.

                      1. 5.antiago

                        Which road?

                        "It is very rare to find such a road designated as a 30mph limit. Perhaps you'd like to tell us which road it was..."

                        In fairness, it's not actually. I can think of a few three and four lane 30 zones in London just off the top of my head, for example. Also, if he meant 4 lanes total as in 2 each way then that's super common.

                        Meh! Doesn't matter really. His original point was sometimes normal law abiding people get picked up by the law and treated more harshly than they thought fair, and this can build resentment. I think we can all identify with that

                        1. Vic

                          > I can think of a few three and four lane 30 zones in London

                          Four-lane roads that aren't in residential areas in London?

                          Vic.

                          1. Richard 12 Silver badge
                            Thumb Down

                            There are 30ph limit four lane roads with central reservations in London.

                            I drive down one most days. The buses undertake me - they usually do 35-40.

                            A little further on the limit rises to 40mph, where it reduces to a 2-lane road outside a secondary school.

                            Madness, pure insanity.

                        2. MJI Silver badge

                          Re 5.antiago 19:23 GMT

                          Meh! Doesn't matter really. His original point was sometimes normal law abiding people get picked up by the law and treated more harshly than they thought fair, and this can build resentment. I think we can all identify with that

                          Exactly!

                          Now I did not object to being pulled a long while ago (where I still live) when the Policeman wanted to know what model car I had at the time as a friend of his (in the force - and who I have met) had a similar one. Now mine was a 1600cc pushrod lump (twin carb, lumpy cam), he was expecting a 2.2l 16 valve lump, his friend had a 2.2l 16 valve lump with a turbo and intercooling.

                          Since then Police have tended to disappear in favour of cameras and talivans.

                          So but if I get stopped and have a bully he will cause resentment, but if it is for a chat and a look at a car as an enthusiast, you like the Police.

                      2. MJI Silver badge

                        Re : Vic

                        Not mentioning area as I do not want comeback but one end was at a roundabout into outer ring road 30 30 70 40 limits, the other town and inner ring road 30 30 40 (the 40 where the 50mph biker got done and the 60mph cars got ignored).

        2. Vic

          Re: but not as serious as rape.

          And that is why the punishment is less.

          Vic.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge
      FAIL

      Trial by Jury is the very underpinning of the legal system. If you cannot rely on the jury to do its job properly, then the system collapses.

      That is why this is not a "slap on the wrist and laugh about it with your mates later" (i.e. non-custodial) issue and why the courts take an extremely dim view of this sort of thing.

    3. Pete 2 Silver badge

      What good would 3 months in jail do?

      The woman is a psychiatrist (or was it a psychologist? Meh!). She'll probably write a book about her observations and make a ton of money from it.

      1. Efros

        Though probably not in English, her grasp is somewhat limited apparently!

    4. JamieL
      Thumb Up

      Contempt does deserve suitable sentences

      As a juror, you have the power to influence whether someone's found guilty, and if so they may go down for many years.

      Misuse that influence and you deserve all that comes your way. If a juror misbehaved, with the conequence you got put away for many years, you'd be a tad unhappy!

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Contempt punishments

      Contempt punishments have to be severe. By breaking essential rules you are prejudicing a trial, which means you could be responsible for a criminal going free to potentially offend again; a very expensive retrial; or an innocent person going to jail. In most contempt of court cases that involve jail time, you have actually caused one of these 3 things. Let's rephrase a little what the court is trying to say (but can't for bias reasons) - pick whichever version corresponds to the actual outcome:

      Don't look up anything about the defendant on the Internet. If you do, a rapist with past convictions goes free to offend again.

      Don't look up anything about the defendant on the Internet. If you do, I'll have to declare a mistrial, and the next trial will cost a million pounds, and inconvenience a new bunch of jurors, and all the witnesses and the defendant a huge amount.

      Don't look up anything about the defendant on the Internet. If you do, I'll end up putting an innocent man in jail for many years.

      Think about it, and contempt punishments could be even more severe without being extreme.

  11. min

    and this woman was a lecturer at some place or another. her understanding of basic instructions seems very limited. the sentence is fitting. i do hope she does not get to pass on this faulty logic of hers unto pupils any more.

    SJrulez brings up the argument that if a person is guilty of a similar crime in the past then they're likely guilty of the crime when accused again. the fact is that this has to be proven on present evidence, not past history, which may or may not be accurate, and may or may not even be relevant here. in some cases i'd say prior convictions could be made known, if they will not unfairly prejudice a current trial. how that will be achieved is beyond me, but people somewhere are thinking that kind of shit up.

    a person has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and that should, in my opinion, not change.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Unless not Untill

      As above

      1. Annihilator
        Facepalm

        @MJI

        It's "until". From the latin ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat

        1. Vic

          > It's "until".

          It's "unless"

          > From the latin ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat

          Note that your Latin phrase does not include any word for "until"[1] or "unless"[2].

          Vic.

          [1] I'd use "donec"

          [2] nisi

        2. MJI Silver badge

          Re :annihilator

          It is these modern shrinking keyboards.

          You get spelling mistakes.

    2. Anonymous Coward 101

      Speaking of sentences...

      ...they start with capital letters. It makes it easier to read.

      1. OziWan
        Facepalm

        Unless is actually a better translation

        "Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat" means "the burden of the proof lies upon him who affirms, not him who denies".

        It contains neither unless or until but unless would be more appropriate IMHO.

        --

        Ian

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " Dallas, who is from Greece, said in a written statement given to judges that "sometimes my grasp of English is not that good" and stated that she had no intention to influence the jury. "

    Fair enough but surely common sense would have dictated that if look and blab, that's influencing a jury, which is almost always a big no-no under almost every countries laws?

  13. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    It wasn't a rape case, it was GBH

    Interestingly this story reminded me to look up the case I saw on a BBC documentary the other day:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01b1zfp/Crime_Scene_Forensics/

    I was quite surprised when it turned out to be the same case:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/jan/23/juror-contempt-court-online-research

    So I guess the Beeb will have been inconvenienced as well, as they had to delay the broadcast until after the re-trial.

    6 months seems a bit harsh (even if she only serves 3), but then if the trial had totally collapsed, the defendants might have got away with it. And they tortured a guy for several hours. Seeing the pictures of the victim on the BBC wasn't nice.

    1. Gareth 7
      Big Brother

      I'm guessing

      they have sligthly different legal system in Greece and looking people up on Google may figure quite importantly in it.

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      Hang on a mo...

      If her grasp of English is not that good, shouldn't she have been rejected as a potential juror?

  14. Steve Ives

    The problem is...

    ...that the guideline may state 'past convictions are no evidence...' etc etc, but a juror's thinking is subjective. Perhaps the evidence against the defendant is almost irrefuteable, but that the jurors found him/her not guilty beacause "such a smart/nice young/old man/woman. I don't believe they could have done it so I'll ignore the evidence and let them off." Perhaps if they had known that the defendant was, in fact, capable of the crime then the result would have been different.

    I'm not saying that all past convictions should be releaveled, but it's certainly not black & white. The same rule should also apply to wintesses/victims etc.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      You often hear "It's better to let 10 guilty men walk free than to wrongly convict 1 innocent man". I think this is why the rules are the way they are.

      Image 10 years ago you made some huge mistake and were convicted for it. Although it was wrong, it was through your own stupidity/naivety etc.

      Now 10 years down the line, something similar happens and the police look at you (but you didn't do it). The police (quite rightly IMHO) need to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you did it _this_ time. Can you imagine the difficulty in defending a case where there was plenty of circumstancial evidence, you had no alibi (alone in bed maybe) and the prosecution were allowed to trot out "10 years ago you were convicted of a similar offence"? Not only would it be grossly unfair, it ignores the fact that some are rehabilitated.

      The burden of proof in criminal matters is reasonable doubt for a reason, think about the harm just having a conviction can do to your life, let alone the potential punishments.

      That being said, I do think that there are those who will never be rehabilitated, and it's a crying shame that some of those will get to re-offend time and time again. What we do about it though, I don't know.

      Sorry, I've a feeling I may have gone off on a tangent there!

  15. Crisp Silver badge
    Meh

    That's the problem with a trial by a jury of your peers.

    All my peers are bloody idiots.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Depends

      My ex office manager really enjoyed the process and put a lot of effort into understanding it.

      It was eye opening.

    2. Michael Thibault
      Devil

      Your "peers are bloddy idiots"?

      Are you sure you want to make such a claim? Isn't that self-incrimination?

  16. Is it me?

    Jury Service

    Mostly, people who do jury service don't actually talk about it widely, especially as you are told not too, at least the cases anyway. Unlike the US, jurors are bound to secrecy even after the verdict.

    My experiance was, that for the cases I sat on the Jury for, the Jurors took it very seriously, and did take the line that, well he might be as guilty as hell, but the prosecution haven't proved it. There was absolutely no, well he's such a nice boy he can't possibly have done it. It was all about the evidence.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Heard this too

      And what gets told is little more than what the press can get.

      And you mainly get told feelings not names and places, ie the first I know of it was disappointment in the case and the feeling of not guilty. the second of being well ran on both prosecution & defence.

      You DO NOT get Joe Bloggs did this, or Joe Bloggs is guilty as hell.

  17. MJI Silver badge

    Court cases

    I have known jurors in two cases. I have heard comments (afterwards) about both.

    The first one was a not guilty, Police evidence was lacking, it turned out afterwards the person was actually innocent as opposed to not guilty and was set up. (1980s) Main thing I remember was it was an open & shut case.

    The second was related to a RTA, all was very thorough, and results were unanimous. I <u>think</u> it was a fatality hence the court appearance. (2000s) All I remember was my then office manager being impressed with how it was run.

  18. James 100
    Joke

    "grasp of English is not that good"

    Yet she is allowed to work as a "University lecturer" as well as sit as a juror, supposed to understand and assess days or perhaps weeks of testimony. Have we no standards at all?!

    The joke: any "university" or "justice" system which let her into either of those positions in the first place.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      I don;t think you need great English to be a lecturer

      Unless your subject requires it.

      That is who it seems to go.

      This isn't my opinion - just what seems to happen.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I think you'd need at least a basic understanding

        Enough to tell the difference between "Do not do X under any circumstances" and "Doing X is absolutely fine. In fact, we recommend it!"

        I note that the jury in her trial were convinced that she could understand enough English to work that out.

  19. Grashnak
    WTF?

    Worst Excuse Ever

    Sometimes my English isn't so good? I'd have given her another six months for trying to insult the court's intelligence.

    If you can't speak English well enough to understand a simple instruction, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest you shouldn't be sitting on a juror weighing evidence delivered in English.

    1. Goat Jam
      Coat

      Worst Excuse Ever?

      Shirley that prize goes to "I tripped and fell into the lifeboat"

  20. steogede

    Research?

    The details of this man's previous conviction (18 months previous) for GBH on his partner, who was then raped by his accomplice, were published in the local paper (probably along with his photo). It is in the public domain, you can't expect jurors to be unaware. She shouldn't have researched him (and she claims she didn't, directly) and she shouldn't have told the other juror's what she found - but could the judge have really have been so niave as to presume that non of the jurors were aware of his previous (quite high profile, in the locality) conviction.

    I think that the principal of not making jurors aware of previous convictions is a sound one ,they should be judge solely on the evidence related to the case at hand - though if the defence attempt to bring in character witnesses, then past convictions should be (IMHO) revealed.

    Finally, if they don't want jurors to be influenced by past convictions, why are the papers allowed to print the details of convictions and (concluded) trials? Now that this case has been published nationally, can either of them ever be tried fairly again?

    1. peter 45

      Ah ha

      Easiest way of getting out of Jury duty. Soon as the trial starts, google defendant's name. If any past convictions come up, tell the judge that you 'remember' the defendant from previous trial reports.

      Home in time for tea and tiffin

      1. 5.antiago

        RE Ah Ha

        Does that really work? Do you know someone who has tried that? Just interested

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Yep. You get bumped off the trial.

          Straight onto the next one.

          It doesn't get you out of jury duty, just into the next trial on the list.

          - My mum did jury duty a while back and knew one of the people involved somehow (witness or something like that). She was moved onto another case, which turned out to take longer than the one she was originally called to.

  21. Alfred 2
    Meh

    Wasn't there a case ...

    ... some time ago where a jury (allegedly) used a ouija board to help them reach a decision.

    No-one went down for that (apart from the accused).

    So the moral is ....

    1. Annihilator

      Not bad

      Given ouija boards are based on what the participants expect the outcome to be, then doesn't seem too wild an idea to me. Ouija's only give results that the people holding the marker believe it to be - if they thought he was guilty based on the evidence, then the ouija result would tend to show that too.

      In the case you're describing though (mid-90's murder trial), IIRC it was only some of the jurors who did it, the defendant got a retrial, and was found guilty again.

      I don't think you can say the jurors discussed the case with anyone else - to do so would be to concede ouija boards are contacting the dead and other such bollox.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge
        Alert

        Ouija board rather defeats the whole "beyond reasonable doubt" bit

        Given that it will only be used if they are doubtful.

        The result will probably be their subconscious bias, thus probably about as inappropriate as you can get without being properly contempt.

      2. Keep Refrigerated
        Joke

        Ouija Boards

        Well if it's a murder trial, that could prejudice the jury a little bit...

  22. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Originally

    the idea was that the jury DID know the defendant, and were there to vouch for his character.

    Funny old world, innit ?

    1. Grease Monkey

      Since when? Or do you think "a jury of your peers" meant people who know you? No it didn't it meant people of similar social standing.

      Anyhow the original concept of a jury as I understood it was a group of men of good character who's job was to investigate the alleged crime. IOW the original detectives.

      1. graeme leggett Silver badge

        Confusion

        with the "Dark Ages"/Anglo Saxon England practice when an accused needed to find twelve (men?) to swear to his innocence.

  23. ADJB
    Coat

    Past offences....

    Now ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the defendant before you, Mr Lewis hamilton is accused of exceeding the speed limit on the M6 last wednesday afternoon. Although we don't have any direct evidence of this offence I point you to the following examples of Mr Hamilton driving at over 200mph every other Sunday afternoon and, moreover, causing a number high speed accidents and, on more than one occasion, failing to stop after said accidents.........

    1. Local Group
      Stop

      Trial by Jury

      The only evidence a jury can consider is that heard in the courtroom where it can be objected to and cross-questioned. If anybody here got pinched, I don't think he'd want the jury to consider evidence in a tabloid that a juror got his lunch time fish and chips wraped up in.

      Harsh sentence? Perhaps they could play for new juries a 10 minute video of jurors scrubbing floors while serving time for disobeying a judge's orders.

  24. volsano

    Rules of engagement

    The rules of the game are that IF the defendant introduces evidence/testimonials of their good character, THEN the prosecution can counter with tales of past legal run-ins.

    Otherwise the trial proceeds solely with evidence of guilt/innocence of the charges before the court.

    It is not for jurors or the press or anyone else to introduce other evidence into the discourse.

    1. Grease Monkey

      I blame the telly. Remember when crime drama was about the rozzers kicking kicking a confession out of the suspect? Or when somebody would confess when presented with the detective's theory in a crowded room? According to the makers of so much modern crime drama it doesn't work like that. In the world of much modern crime drama everything happens in the court room or in chambers. In this world it seems that the police never investigate a crime properly. Solicitors and barristers investigate the crime as the court case is ongoing and alter their case as the hearing progresses. And they will suddenly introduce new evidence of which the other side are unaware.

      Of course more often than not this seems to lead to a sudden confession. Either it looks like the accused is in a hopeless position and is going down for a long stretch, in which case somebody in the public gallery will suddenly break down and cry out "it was me what done it, I killed her!" Or it will look as if the accused will walk free when suddenly s/he will be presented with startling new evidence and will break down and admit to the crime.

      Of course in reality the shows are exactly the same as they were before, but now the detective's roles have been taken by lawyers and/or jurors. The sole reason for this is that the programme's makers can do away with all that expensive location stuff and reduce everything to a couple of sets.

      Of course in legal terms it's just as much bollocks as the old crime shows and the real world would never work anything like that. It seems however from several stories over the last few months that there are plenty of jurors who believe it and think that it would be OK, not to mention a whole lot more fun, to do their own investigations.

      1. hillsy
        IT Angle

        Modern crime dramas

        Or you have a CSI-esque image enhancement system that can zoom on the reflection in a shop window of a $20 bill across the street, read the serial number, and convict the Bad Guy. Complete with "tchtchtch" sound effects as the serial number digits roll into view on a big counter in the middle of the screen, "bing" when there's a match, and a nice big red flashing dialog box just to make doubly sure.

        I wish my UIs were as exciting.

        IT-related even if completely off-topic.

  25. Stevie Silver badge

    Er...

    The strictures about previous convictions are based on the - possibly naive - premiss that if you've done the time you've paid for the crime. To do otherwise is to make every crime a life sentence.

    It's not about getting the judicial system you deserve, it's about getting the one you say you want with the goals you claim to be the whole point of the affair.

    If the idea is just to punish then we can go back to amputations, the lash and transportation to places that render the guilty incommunicado (whether the indigenous peoples of those places agree or not) and stop pretending to be enlightened.

    Or we could harvest their organs like that place our politicians and business owners admire so much does.

    We just have to stop pretending to be re-educating the prison population is all. Admit you just want revenge and we can all get back to watching Top Gear under the watchful eye of the benevolent "safety cameras".

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    She should have known better

    If he's guilty, convict him, if not turn him free.

  27. toadwarrior
    Thumb Up

    Good for her

    Using your birth place as an excuse to why you broke the law is inexcusable. She is a lectuerer and knows english well enough to read up on him and tell everyone. I just wish she spent the whole 6 months in the slammer so she'll think twice about ignoring the law.

  28. heyrick Silver badge

    And in the news the same day...

    US army bloke freaks out, bunch of people (in Iraq?) die, he admits dereliction of duty, manslaughter charge is dropped, he gets the maximum term of ... three months.

    Compare and contrast.

  29. John Savard Silver badge

    My Only Concern

    What if the evidence against the accused was shaky - but he actually had committed the crime he was accused of? Then the jury having this additional information might have helped to ensure that the victim would obtain justice, and the public would be protected.

    A previous rape conviction is not irrelevant - people rightly believe it makes it significantly more probable that a current accusation is correct. So I fault the laws for withholding this information from jurors.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: I fault the laws

      Imagine you tried to steal a pack of Wrigley's from a shop as a youth, got caught and cautioned. Then 10 years later you are wrongly accused of shoplifting. How would you feel then if the jury will be given that information?

    2. 5.antiago

      RE My only concern

      But if previous dealings with the police (either convicted or not) were included for the benefit of the jury then it raises new concerns, for example the ability of the state or other powerful vested interest body to generate smoke to prove fire. As law-abiding citizens (assuming!), both you and I are more at risk of a miscarriage of justice under a system amended in this way

      It's effectively allowing the admittance of hearsay, and pushing the justice system away from the basis of evidence (the enlightened hallmark of science and the foundation of modern western achievement) to a basis of feelings and faith (the hallmarks of bollocks). I know I wouldn't want to punished for a crime I didn't commit because I had been accused 10 times previously of the same sort of stuff and that influenced a jury to finally say, "well he must have done this at least ONCE before! We've got to stop him this time!".

      The principles on which the legal system have helped our society evolve to a fairer and more just place for us citizens. We have forgotten that it was once a Big Deal to be protected from your local land-owning lord or some other member of the elite who had unreasonable power and influence over your body and life. An evidence-based system is the best way

      1. Grease Monkey

        Remember Carter and Regan* or Gene Hunt if you're not old enough?

        How often the old school cop's modus operandi was to pull in the all the local villains and then question (as in threaten, punch, kick and knee) them until one of them confessed. Now that isn't too far from the real way that the police used to operate and probably still do in some cases). That sort of police practice is one of the main reasons that criminal records are not admissible in court.

        Of course when somebody has set fire to number 15 it would be pretty stupid if the police didn't pay close attention to the convicted arsonist living at number 11, but what the jury need to see is solid evidence that the accused actually committed the crime. After all you wouldn't accept as conclusive the fact that the accused had a previously unblemished record so why would you consider previous blemishes to be significant?

        * Note the spelling I'm talking about the TV cops not the US presidents. Actually the TV cops were more realistic.

  30. LaeMing
    Facepalm

    I do wonder

    how many of the IDGI crowd here screaming for miscariages of justice through the injection of arbitrary case-irrelevant information into a jury room with no legal oversight just came off screaming against the injustaces of SOPA and its ilk?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm all for justice

    Kill the bastard. He won't raped again.

  32. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    Different

    "Dallas had revealed to jurors the man had previously been accused and acquitted of rape. He was re-tried in October last year, convicted and jailed."

    Is there no equivalent of "double jeopardy" in UK jurisprudence? Of course I suppose it's possible something new might have turned up so it didn't apply but it seems odd from a US perspective.

    Also, it looks like El Reg missed a bit. The defendant was on trial for assault in the current case, not rape.

    1. Vic

      > Is there no equivalent of "double jeopardy" in UK jurisprudence?

      There used to be. A few years ago, the law was changed such that you now *can* be tried more than once for the same offence - but that's thankfully very rare.

      But note that in this case, a retrial was ordered. This voids the whole of the first trial and starts again - it would have been the proper procedure even when we had effective protection against double jeopardy.

      Vic.

    2. Keep Refrigerated
      Alien

      Odd from a US perspective

      I bet a lot of this seems odd from a US perspective...

      Consider, if this alleged rapist had allegedly committed the offence in the US, then he could have simply run a negative media campaign against the victim's character before the trial started and got away without ever having to set foot in a courtroom.

      In Russ^WUnited States, victim becomes defendant.

  33. Grease Monkey

    No appeal

    Dallas has today been refused leave to appeal to the supreme court.

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