Retrial after juror's tram outburst
A JUDGE has ordered a retrial in the case of two people convicted of causing a crash which killed two people – after it emerged a juror was overheard making comments on a Nottingham tram.
Business partners Mary Butres and John Nichols were jailed for nine years and five years respectively in October last year.
A juror was overheard talking on a Nottingham tram
It followed a crash on the A1 in May 2007 which killed Mark Crompton, 20, and 19-year-old Jodie Brown.
They have now been released on bail after a court hearing today was told that a woman juror was overheard on a tram, partway through the trial, stating that one of the defendants was "guilty as hell".
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A top judge ruled that the woman juror's "flagrant disregard" of the rules had robbed Ms Butres, 47, and Mr Nichols, 58, of the right to a fair trial. They will now face a retrial.
Ms Butres was at the wheel of Nichols' Jaguar when tragedy struck on the A1 near Grantham in May 2007 as the duo returned from a Nottingham race meeting.
Ms Butres, received a nine-year jail-term after a Nottingham Crown Court jury convicted her of two counts of causing death by dangerous driving in October last year.
Mr Nichols, who was found guilty of aiding and abetting her, was jailed for five years.
The Appeal Court heard the juror's comments came on October 15 last year – three days into the pair's trial.
Mr Nichols' QC, Richard Kovalevsky, said the passenger was "so concerned" by what she heard that she reported the matter.
The businessman, of Carlby, and Ms Butres, of Stamford, both in Lincolnshire, argued the juror's words revealed clear bias on her part.