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A Judge and an Obstinate Juror.

Rather an unusual incident occurred (says the "Sydney Daily Telegraph") at the Quarter Sessions. 1 The jury had retired to consider their verdict m the case of Louisa Baker, who was charged with uttering counterfeit coin. They were absent a considerable time—why, no one could understand, for the case was a simple and plain one. His Honor/finally sent for the jury and at.ked what difficulty lay m the way of coming to a decision ; the case was an easy one. The foreman answered that only one held out against returning a verdict of guilty. His Honor: What reason does he give. Does he give any ? ' The foreman said the juryman did hot give any reason for his opinion. His Honor remarked that m so acting the juryman was acting improperly and wrofigly. The jury again retired, and m about three-quarters of an hour came into Court with a verdict of " Guilty." After sentence had been passed His Honor inquired who was the juryman who had held, out. The Crown Prosecutor expressed a hope His Honor would notpress the question.' His Honor said he knew' his duty. For some moments the jury remained stationary, and then one of the number stood out and said he was the one who at first refused to find a verdict of guilcy. His Honor: You are quite right m having an opinion of your own, but it appears to me that your mind is so peculiarly constituted that you are unfit to be i a juryman, and I therefore excuse you j from further attendance. The Juryman: The reason I give for my action is that I believe the woman may, have passed the coin believing it to be a genuine one. The Crown Prosecutor hoped the action contemplated would not be taken. His Honor did juot wish to insult the juryman m any way, but he thought that a person who m ?i plain case of this kind helJ out against a verdict rai^hfc cause a great deal of trouble to his brother jurymen m anything like a difficult case. The juryman m question seemed a difficult man to persuade. The Crown Prosecutor asked to be heard. It was only through tho mistake of the foreman m saying how the numbers 3tood, that His Honor knew that but one juryman was holding out. It would be a slight on the juryman to take the course His Honor, proposed; with the greatest | respect he asked His Honor not to with-1 draw the juryman's name from the panel. His Honor asked the learned gentleman if he knew any law ? He (His Honor) would quote a, case m point to show that he was taking a proper and legal course. The case he would refer to was'not exactly like this, but would bear upon,it. A charge of, cattle-stealing was being heard at Maitland before she late, Judge Milford. On the jury there was a prize-fighter, and he threatened t<> punch the heads of all the others if they 'did not come round to his view of the case. The matter was inquired intoi the/jury were discharged, and the man struck off ; theroll and,.he believed, punished. He did not -. say the juryriian m th 6 present case was of that character, but there were some people who' were reluctant to ;believe, evidence m the plainest case, and the peculiar constitution of their minds led to other jurymen being put to a great deal of inconvenience. A jury could pnot be discharged till they had been m deliberation 12 hours, and one juryman might cause expense and trouble; A jury might retire at eleven o'clock m the morning, and one man might keep<all the others m till eleven o'clock at: night, causing enormous inconvenience, through his stubbornness. ' He was simply) taking a legal and proper course, and'would excuse the juryman from further attendance.

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Bibliographic details

A Judge and an Obstinate Juror., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2455, 1 July 1890

Word Count

A Judge and an Obstinate Juror. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2455, 1 July 1890