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jury intimidation in court ?


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Nitpicker1
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« on: March 04, 2009, 08:31:14 am »

Mr Gotlieb said his general unease throughout the trial worsened considerably when he arrived at court for the summing up to see a massively increased police and security presence, and electronic scanners. "It was like Fort Knox," he said.

The trial lawyers were told to "jump under our desks if a riot happened".


"There were a lot of people milling around and it was not a pleasant situation. That's when I said to myself, `They [the jury] are not going to give manslaughter, they will be too scared'."



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Two families accused of intimidation
By JIM KAYES
The Dominion Post
Last updated 02:51 04/03/2009

The families of two people killed in 2006 when they were deliberately run down outside a party in Auckland have been accused of intimidating a jury into returning guilty verdicts, a court has been told.

Lawyer Gary Gotlieb, who defended Darin Gardner, who was 25 when found guilty of murdering Kane Wright, 19, and Melissa Viall, 23, made the claim during Gardner's appeal against his conviction and sentence in the High Court at Auckland yesterday. Gardner was jailed for life with a non-parole period of 18 1/2 years.

Mr Gotlieb described a trial that was increasingly out of control, with persistent injections from the victims' families, who were also accused of whispering insults to Gardner and talking to the jury.

A juror was discharged after revealing to Justice Hugh Williams she was told to "hang them, hang them" by a member of the public. It was revealed yesterday that she had been hassled by the same person throughout the trial.

The court was also told that Gardner's mother, Gloria, was lunged at by Wright's brother, Dylan, who also swore repeatedly at her as he labelled Gardner a coward.

Mr Gotlieb told justices Terence Arnold, Ronald Young and Geoffrey Venning that the trial, in September 2007, was the most dramatic he had experienced during a long career.

He blamed the inappropriately small courtroom and its layout, which had the jurors too close to the public, and entering and leaving the courtroom through the public access.

Mr Gotlieb said his general unease throughout the trial worsened considerably when he arrived at court for the summing up to see a massively increased police and security presence, and electronic scanners. "It was like Fort Knox," he said.

The trial lawyers were told to "jump under our desks if a riot happened".

"There were a lot of people milling around and it was not a pleasant situation. That's when I said to myself, `They [the jury] are not going to give manslaughter, they will be too scared'."

Under cross-examination, Mr Gotlieb admitted he had raised his concerns only with the court registrar, not the judge. One of Gardner's three appeal lawyers, Barry Hart, later admitted Mr Gotlieb should have made more of his concerns during the trial.

The appeal also focused on whether Gardner had been provoked into driving into the crowd outside a 21st birthday in October 2006 after he and a friend, Anton Degraaff, were assaulted.

Degraaff had been found guilty of injury with intent and was jailed for 2 1/2 years, and 12 months for being a party to injury.

Greg King argued that Gardner could still say he was provoked and had lost his self-control, even though he did not drive at those still beating up Degraaff, but instead aimed for a group watching the attack.

The judges reserved their decision.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/1995574/Two-families-accused-of-intimidation
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