March 28, 2022 4.44 pm

Second jury member discharged as COVID hits Sam Davies murder trial… again

Illness has hit the counsel too

A second member of the jury in the Sam Davies murder trial has been discharged as COVID-19 continues to delay proceedings.

The number of jurors in the case being heard at Nottingham Crown Court dropped to ten on Monday, March 28.

The court heard a female member of the jury had caught COVID-19, she was feeling unwell and it was unclear when she would be able to return to her duties.

Illness has hit the counsel too. At least five barristers either have COVID or another illness and some of those are attending via video link.

William Harbage QC, for the prosecution, delivered part of his closing speech remotely on Monday.

In the 12th week of the trial, the judge – The Honourable Mr Justice Goss – made the decision to discharge the COVID-hit jury member to prevent a further delay.

The trial, which started on January 12, had been expected to last about eight weeks and the court is mindful of the Easter break approaching.

Mr Justice Goss told the jury it was a “very frustrating time” for members who did not sit on Friday due to COVID issues.

He added: “Whatever the national position, there is now no legal requirement to isolate if you have COVID.

“As far as the court is concerned and those responsible for the court and tribunal service – not me – you have to have two negative tests on consecutive days or you have to have had symptoms for at least ten days before you are allowed back in this building.

“So I have taken the decision, reluctantly, that the juror is going to have to be discharged and you are now a jury of ten.”

Another juror was discharged earlier this month due to the overrunning of the trial presenting them with difficulties.

A previous COVID case among the jury caused the trial to break for a week and there was a further delay when one of the seven defendants fell ill.

The judge told the court that the Coronavirus Act 2020 allows a trial judge and counsel to attend remotely but not any members of the jury.