Birmingham & Black Country

Wolverhampton juror jailed for contempt of court

A juror who disclosed details of deliberations to a defendant in a criminal trial has been jailed.

Lorry driver Stephen Pardon, 42, was on a jury considering allegations of a multimillion-pound metal theft plot at Wolverhampton Crown Court in 2011.

He disclosed details to one defendant and "attempted to do so" to another defendant, the High Court heard.

Pardon, of Tipton, admitted contempt of court and will serve half his four-month sentence in jail.

At the London court, Hanif Mussa represented Attorney General Dominic Grieve who had brought the proceedings against Pardon.

Mr Mussa said the 13-week trial, involving two counts of conspiracy to steal, began on 19 September 2011.

He said after the jury returned a majority verdict on one of the counts, Pardon visited one of the convicted defendants at his workplace and "made a number of disclosures including the reasons for the verdict and the material that the jury had considered".

The defendant informed his legal advisers.

'In good faith'

Pardon later went to the work premises of a second defendant convicted on the one count "to convey his concerns about the verdict", but was asked to leave the premises, Mr Mussa said.

Jonathan Challinor, counsel for Pardon, told the court "it was right Mr Pardon disobeyed a clear and unambiguous direction from the trial judge".

But he said the juror was concerned by the "propriety of the verdict" and his actions were "in good faith".

The four-month sentence was imposed by Lord Judge, Mr Justice Mitting and Mr Justice Griffith Williams.

Lord Judge emphasised the "seriousness with which this court will view any incident which serves to undermine our system of trial by jury".

"In these circumstances an immediate custodial sentence is virtually inevitable," he said.

The sentence took into account Pardon's "immediate acknowledgement of his guilt" and genuine remorse, the judge said.

Three men who were convicted by the jury have begun challenges against their convictions at the Court of Appeal.

After Pardon's hearing, Mr Grieve said his conduct had "serious consequences" and had led to the men's appeals.

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