You wait ages for someone to do something idiotic in court, then two stories come along at once. First was the remarkable story that emerged from Leeds Crown Court today, where a trial was reportedly adjourned after jurors were offered sums of up to £500 in cash outside court.
The venue had been evacuated after a fire alarm was activated, and cameras picked up jurors being approached as they left the building.
Mr Justice Goss took the unusual step of stopping proceedings and going ahead without a jury, under powers in section 46 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.
The trial, involving four men suspected of making fraudulent compensation claims arising from a so-called ‘cash for crash’ plot, will continue on Monday.
While Leeds grappled with fire alarms and jurors, at Cardiff Crown Court the problems were very much inside the building. The BBC reports today that David Davies filmed and live-streamed a person giving evidence in a trial on Monday.
South Wales Police was alerted by a member of the public who saw the footage online and Davies was jailed for 28 days for contempt of court.
‘Unfortunately, cases such as this are becoming more and more commonplace,’ said PC Richard Sellek.
There have been plenty of calls in recent months for more public legal education – might Obiter suggest the need appears to be growing?