Just over 24 hours after a jury was discharged and a mistrial declared, a Layou woman was on Friday slapped with two charges in connection with her alleged inappropriate approach to an empaneled juror.
Jemima Woods is charged that on June 20, 2019 she did interfere with a criminal legal process in that she expressed her opinion about an ongoing criminal matter to a juror serving on the said matter.
She is further charged that on the same date, she did interfere with a criminal legal process in that she approached a serving juror in an ongoing criminal matter for the purpose of discussing the said matter.
Woods is slated to appear in court in Kingstown on Monday (today) to answer the charges.
The charges stem from an investigation triggered on Thursday when a juror asked to be relieved of her duties in a trial before the High Court.
Four of six witnesses in the case had already testified when the issue arose.
The female juror told the High Court that she had had no issues trying the matter — which began earlier that week — until her coworker approached her, on Thursday morning, about the trial.
The juror told High Court judge Justice Brian Cottle that her coworker told her that the defendant in the matter had said that he knows the juror.
The juror said that while she did not know the defendant, she no longer felt comfortable sitting on the panel.
The juror told the court she did not know what was discussed between the accused and her co-worker, adding that the co-worker indicated that she (the coworker) and the accused are good friends.
After discharging the jury, Justice Cottle told
Crown Counsel Karim Nelson, who was the prosecutor in the case, that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution would no doubt liaise with the police, who would investigate the matter.
He said that, to his mind, there were suggestions of improper approach of an empanelled juror, which he said is a very serious offence.
Justice Cottle said it might well be that after the investigations are complete additional charges could be filed.
Regarding the accused man, the judge said the prosecution would then determine when next he would be tried.
With bail having expired, the accused man’s counsel would have to make a new application in the matter.
The man was remanded in to custody pending bail.