Jailed concrete boss asks court to investigate ‘jury bias’
A PROMINENT Queensland businessman who was jailed for holding a knife to a woman’s throat has asked for an investigation into the jury that convicted him after it was revealed one of the jurors may have attended his 400-guest wedding.
Benjamin Mark George Boodle, 38, is serving 18 months behind bars after he was found guilty of staking out a woman’s home before threatening her and holding a knife to her throat at Goondiwindi in 2017.
Boodle, the manager of Boodles Concrete, made an application to the Brisbane District Court on Tuesday to launch an investigation into potential bias of the jury because he claimed several of the 12 jurors who were empanelled at his trial knew him.
The licensed pilot revealed one of the jurors had attended his wedding, another was one of 270 people at his engagement party and three other jurors knew him or the victim through business or school.
Defence barrister Christopher Wilson said the fact the jury did not flag these connections before the trial started were “grounds for suspicion” of bias.
The court was also told that Boodle’s legal team could not veto the jurors before they were empanelled at his trial because they had already used all eight of their challenges.
Judge Brad Farr refused Boodle’s application and said the jury was under no obligation to disclose that they knew Boodle – they were only bound to speak up if they were unable to conduct the trial without bias.
Judge Farr said it would be a “rare trial indeed” where jurors in a regional criminal trial did not know any of the parties.
“It can’t be mere knowledge that would constitute grounds surely, otherwise no country juries would ever be empanelled,” Judge Farr said.
“There are trials conducted every week in this state, in this country, in country centres where jurors know … many of the persons involved in the trial.”
At Boodle’s trial in October 2019, the court was told the woman, who was known to Boodle, was watching television in her home when she saw “a hand reach over her shoulder from behind”.
Boodle was later arrested in Chinchilla, where he was charged with intentionally entering a dwelling while armed and using actual violence, unlawful wounding, and robbery while armed and using personal violence.
Boodle is also appealing his conviction in the Queensland Court of Appeal. – NewsRegional