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DPP wants special jury to hear Hall case


The Department of Public Prosecutions is to apply for a special jury to hear the fraud case against lawyer and former politician Julian Hall even though Government is abolishing them.
Hall, who is charged with stealing more than $500,000 from a widow, faces trial in March.
The former MP had pleaded not guilty to stealing $551,044.07 from Betty Loraine McMahon between November 8, 1995 and February 20, 1996.
Director of Public Prosecutions Vinette Graham-Allen confirmed there was an application before the court for a special jury of experts to hear the case.
Asked why was this was happening when Government was abolishing the procedure Mrs. Graham-Allen said: "The court will make a ruling."
Last week Government tabled The Criminal Code Amendment (No 3) Act which aims to carry out the long-held Progressive Labour Party policy of abolishing special juries which have been brand unfair, unnecessary and even racist.
The bill will be debated at an extra sitting of the House of Assembly on Friday and could be passed by the Senate before Christmas.
It's believed the last time a special jury was used was in the 1970s for the Shopping Centre trial against Larry Tacklyn and Buck Burrows which found both guilty and sentenced them to death.
The bill will repeal section 518(4) of the Criminal Code Act 1907 that makes provision for special juries in criminal trials.
The Criminal Code 1907 allows a special jury compromised of experts rather ordinary people be used in complicated cases such as those involving technical knowledge or examination of books, accounts or documents.
Shadow Attorney General Trevor Moniz said he found it ironic that Government was pushing through the legislation just as prosecutors were trying to use it.
"It's like the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing."
He questioned whether the move was an attempt to spare Mr. Hall from the special jury because he used to be a PLP MP.
Mr. Moniz said special juries had a place for dealing with complex matters such as fraud and he pointed to the collapse of a lengthy fraud case against the sons of former newspaper magnate Robert Maxwell because the jury couldn't understand the issues.
"It some case it's appropriate."
 

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