News

Justice refuses probe into murder trial jurors

A SUPREME Court justice, who feared the time-honoured jury system would be in jeopardy, has refused to allow lawyers to probe jurors involved in a Rockhampton murder trial.

Justice Roslyn Atkinson was asked to consider whether she should allow a Queensland sheriff to put questions to jurors involved in convicting three men of the death of Robert James Buckley at the old Etna Creek Prison.

Justice Atkinson, during the application in Brisbane Supreme Court, said the legislation giving her discretion to make the order was born after the now infamous Joh Bjelke-Petersen jury saga.

Mark Dempsey Knight, Wesley Robert Williams and Wayne Thomas Robertson were found guilty after a trial in April of murdering the 23-year-old in 1999.

Buckley was found dead, hanging by a towel from a window in a shower block at the prison.

It was the second trial the men had faced, after the Court of Appeal set aside initial guilty verdicts and ordered a retrial.

The court heard during the application that a juror had commented to his barber that the men were serving life sentences or long-term jail terms anyway so the jury's verdicts made no difference.

The barber served a lawyer for one of the accused men later that same day and passed on the conversation.

The trio's lawyers argued the comment meant the juror could have read newspaper articles "already in the public arena" during the trial and had therefore performed illegal "external" investigations while he was on jury duty.

He said jurors could be approached under section 70 (7) of the Jury Act if the court suspected a juror was guilty of bias, fraud or an offence related to the person's involvement in the jury's performance.

Justice Atkinson said she was concerned enlivening the subsection could drive "a highway" through the confidentiality of the jury system and "then I don't see how we could continue the jury system".

But when she dismissed the application on Monday, she agreed not to publish her reasons on the Queensland courts website until the appeal process had expired.

The trio's lawyers said they would most likely appeal Justice Atkinson's decision on questioning the juror and indicated they would likely go to the Court of Appeal over the murder convictions.

The Bjelke-Petersen 1991 perjury trial, which was deadlocked with a hung jury, became infamous when it was revealed the jury foreman was a member of the Young Nationals and was identified with the Friends of Joh movement.

Topics:  jury mark dempsey knight murder supreme court



James Hardie boss devastated by work death

Construction firms have faced challenges from rising costs and small margins, but there's absolutely no indication that the coming year will be any worse than the past couple, MBA's Will Wilson says.

A MAN in his 60s has died in an industrial accident.

How police shooting in Lockyer Valley unfolded

An armed man is on the run from police after an officer was shot this afternoon.

Events that led to a police officer's death in the Lockyer Valley

Taking a stand for health

Simon LaBlack lawyer for LaBlack Lawyers uses a stand up desk to work after suffering a neck injury.

Calls for standing desks and active learning at schools and at work

Local Partners

My Kitchen Rules champion reveals how he won $250K

VIDEO: Tyson Murr revealed some behind-the-scenes secrets in a speech at Ipswich Grammar School today

Could Schapelle be heading for Gladstone?

Australian Schapelle Corby is escorted by Bali Police at the parole office in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, 27 May 2017.

Schapelle's mother teases her free daughter could be Gladstone bound

Six things you never knew about Men in Black

Mushu the pug

It's been 20 years since Men in Black first hit cinemas

10 strange stories behind famous sex scenes

Khaleesi and Khal Drogo in a steamy moment.

Every set has their own way of filming sex scenes

HBO spills new details on Game of Thrones’ final season

Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season will only have six episodes.

New details about what to expect from the eighth, final instalment.

Karl’s rant on Corby: ‘Made to look like idiots’

Karl Stefanovic is sick of hearing about Schapelle Corby.

Today co-host launched a tirade against Schapelle Corby media circus

Big Pineapple festival safety concerns as 100s walk home

LONG WALK HOME: Many festival goers opted to take a dangerous walk home due to transport difficulty following the Big Pineapple Festival in Woombye on Saturday.

Big Pineapple festival-goers have braved dangerous walks home

New $46.7m counter-terrorism facility to be built in Wacol

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, pictured with Police Commisioner Ian Stewart, has announced plans to build a new counter-terrorism facility in Wacol.

The facility will be built over three years.

Home to a sex worker: Sordid history of iconic Coast shed

Milojevic Djordjevic's daughter Linda at the derelict shed on Yandina-Coolum Road.

The shed was once a liveable 'barrack'.

This is real estate's billion-dollar man

Bob Wolff at AREC with John McGrath of McGrath Real Estate.

They don’t call him the “Billion dollar man” for nothing

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!