In Grand Court yesterday, Justice Seymour Panton discharged the jury hearing the matter of Damean Dwayne Seymour, who was being tried for robbery.
The Crown’s case was that Seymour had been involved in the robbery at Foster’s Republix supermarket in West Bay on 4 March 2006.
The trial began on Thursday, 8 February and the jurors last heard evidence on Monday, 12 February. Since then they had stayed in the jury room or had been released for blocks of time.
Yesterday, shortly after noon, Mr. Justice Panton had the jurors brought back to the courtroom. He thanked them for their patience.
He said he had been hearing submissions from the attorneys and had considered them along with certain developments that took place Monday afternoon and evening.
He had decided as a matter of law that he had to discharge them from returning a verdict in this case. Therefore, there was no need for their further participation.
He explained that certain irrelevant and prejudicial information had been communicated in their presence. In addition, the television station Cayman 27 had published inaccurate and prejudicial information in respect of the accused man during his trial.
Cayman is a small community, Mr. Justice Panton said. When jurors are involved in a trial the judge has to ensure as far as possible that prejudicial information is not communicated to the jury. When it is done, he has to make an assessment whether it would be fair to continue with the trial or start over.
In this situation, the proper course as far as he was concerned was that the trial be stopped.
Court was then adjourned for the day. It is expected to resume this morning to determine what happens next.