LONDON – A woman juror has been arrested after she was allegedly caught listening to an MP3 player hidden beneath her hijab during a murder trial in London.
The Muslim woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is accused of concealing the device beneath her headscarf so that she could listen to music during the testimony of a man who bludgeoned his disabled wife to death.
Judge Roger Chapple, presiding, said that he thought he could hear “tinny music” in the courtroom at Blackfriars Crown Court in Central London, but dismissed it as a figment of his imagination until another juror sent him a note.
The woman was arrested for contempt of court on the direction of the judge on June 27 and is bailed to appear at the court before Judge Aidan Marron on July 23. The arrest can only be reported now after Alan Wicks, 72, the defendant at the trial, was convicted yesterday.
The juror, who is in her early twenties, was discharged by Judge Chapple and given warning that her behavior, if proved, would amount to contempt of court. Outside the court she was searched by a police officer and an MP3 player was confiscated.
It is thought to be the first time that a juror has been accused of listening to music during a trial. John Cooper, a criminal barrister, said that people found guilty of contempt received an average of three years in prison. “It follows a long pedigree of contempt cases including jurors falling asleep and, in one case, jurors who used a Ouija board before they found a defendant guilty,” he said.