Kingston University professor comments on Vicky Pryce trial

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By adam_leone | Thursday, February 21, 2013, 18:54

Kingston University Professor of law, Penny Cooper has defended jurors involved in the Vicky Pryce trial. 

The jury trying Chris Huhne's ex-wife  failed to reach a verdict on a charge relating to speeding points she took for the ex-minister 10 years ago.

Ms Pryce, 60, of Clapham, faces a retrial before a new jury on Monday.

However, they faced a backlash on twitter. 

Professor Penny Cooper from Kingston Law School said the jurors should not be taken to task for their questions.

She said: "Whilst the judge's comments are completely understandable it would be most unfortunate if in the future jurors felt reluctant to ask questions," 

She hoped that there would be a different judge presiding over the Pryce re-trial to avoid jurors feeling any reluctance in this particular case.  

"No juror's question is a stupid question and we need to know if they have concerns," she added.

"One way to look at it is that this case shows the system works because the jury was discharged and there will be a retrial without delay," she said.

However, Professor Cooper said she herself had been slightly taken aback by the nature of a couple of the queries.

"As a barrister and legal academic with an interest in better communication in court, I know that we lawyers tend to use legal jargon which has potential to confuse lay people including jurors," she said.  

Mr Justice Sweeney, the judge presiding over the case, dismissed the jury after he was asked ten questions by them about the trial, which he said showed that at least some jurors had "a fundamental deficit in understanding".

Ms Pryce, 60, of Clapham, London, faces a re-trial before a new jury on Monday.

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