Football fan juror halts rape trial because defendant supports rival team
A football fan sitting on a jury cost the taxpayer thousands of pounds when he caused a rape trial to be halted just because the defendant supported a rival team.The Newcastle United fan told fellow jury members he could not give David Blake, from Sunderland, a fair trial as it was just 24 hours after the Tyne-Wear derby.
In an outburst he branded the defendant a "Mackem rapist" – Mackem being a slang term for people from Sunderland.
The juror claimed to have been left distraught by Newcastle's 3-0 home defeat to their bitter Premier League foes last month.
His bias meant Judge Penny Moreland had to halt the trial, dismiss the juror and swear in a new panel at Newcastle Crown Court – at a cost of £5,000 to the public purse.
The case, which had heard the opening from the prosecution, had to be started again, meaning half a day was wasted.
Jurors are given a clear warning by judges at the start of every case that they must try defendants on the evidence they hear in court and nothing else.
The juror – who has not been named – was told not to come back to court to complete his two weeks service.
Blake was found guilty of raping the woman, who had fallen asleep in a spare bed, alone, after a party.