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R v KC

The fact that a newspaper columnist held strong and well-publicised views on issues such as law and order, knife crime and drugs did not mean that his service as foreman on a jury that convicted a drug dealer of a knife murder ruled the conviction unsafe. Juries comprised people with often strong views about the criminal justice system, and the only difference between the columnist and a juror about whom nothing was known was that he had expressed those views publicly.

8 December 2009

The appellant young offender (C) appealed against his conviction for murder. C was a drug dealer. He was attacked by the victim at a bus stop, who had wrongly assumed that C was his supplier. C ran away but returned to the scene a short while later, and confronted the victim who was by that time armed with a piece of wooden fencing. C produced a knife and with great force stabbed the victim nine times to the front and back of the chest. At trial, the judge gave the standard jury directions about trying the case only on the evidence heard in court. C was convicted and sentenced to detention for life with a minimum term of 15 years. However, it later transpired that the jury foreman (S) was a columnist for a national tabloid newspaper, who held strong and well-publicised views on issues such as law and order, soft judges, knife crime, drugs and immigration. C claimed that S's service on the jury gave rise to the real possibility or danger of bias against him so as to render the trial ...

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