No unfairness in allowing criminal trial to proceed with just ten jurors

By: Ciaran Joyce BL

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Court of Appeal dismisses appeal of convictions for aggravated sexual assault and causing serious harm, on the grounds that: a) the trial judge exercised his discretion legitimately in permitting the trial to continue with just ten jurors; b) there was no unfairness in the trial judge’s decision not to discharge the jury and adjourn the trial after the appellant sacked his legal team; and c) when the complainant made a reference to the appellant being on the sex offenders list during cross examination, it was not objected to for strategic reasons, and so could not be a successful ground of appeal.

Criminal law – appeal of convictions for aggravated sexual assault and causing serious harm – s. 3(1) of the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act 1990 – s. 4 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 – reduction in the number of jurors prior to the beginning of their deliberations – whether there was an unfairness in his trial by virtue of the trial judge allowing the number of jurors to be reduced to ten – Section 23 of the Juries Act 1976 – trial judge exercised his discretion legitimately in permitting the trial to continue with just ten jurors – development in the trial on day eight when the appellant sacked his legal team – whether the trial judge’s direction that the appellant must defend himself was a decision reached peremptorily and without exploration of the appellant’s stated inability to defend himself – there was no unfairness in the trial judge’s decision not to discharge the jury and adjourn the trial – complainant made a reference to the appellant being on the sex offenders list – appeal dismissed.

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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