Million-dollar trial aborted on account of sudoku
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
A drug trial in Sydney, Australia aborted yesterday after several jurors were found to playing sudoku puzzles proceedings.
The trial, which Andrew Daniel Lonsdale and Kane Holland were accused conspiracy to manufacture a commercial quantity of amphetamines, been running for over three months, involved 105 witnesses and cost A$1 million, and was scheduled to end soon both parties prepared to deliver final statements this week.
giving evidence last week, Lonsdale noticed the jury forewoman apparently writing notes vertically than horizontally, the manner of someone solving a sudoku. The co-accused, Holland, made the same observation, and their defence counsel lodged an appeal the judge. Yesterday, the forewoman gave unsworn evidence the judge confirming that she and several other jurors been filling out the puzzles since the second week of the trial, comparing solutions during meal breaks. She claimed it helped them concentrate the proceedings.
"It helps me keep my mind busy, and pay more attention," she said her defence. Judge Peter Zahra of the Sydney District Court earlier lauded the jury's apparent attentiveness and diligence, but following the revelation, he told the forewoman that she and her fellow sudoku players had let everyone involved in the trial. The jury discharged, but no penalty will given to the sudoku players. The New South Wales sheriff's office will update guidelines to instruct jurors not to play games proceedings, and the co-accused will facing a new trial a later date.