Old Bailey juror kicked off Croydon tram crash trial after using his phone in court

·2-min read
An Old Bailey juror was caught using his phone during a trial (Nick Ansell/PA) (PA Archive)
An Old Bailey juror was caught using his phone during a trial (Nick Ansell/PA) (PA Archive)

An Old Bailey juror at the Croydon tram crash trial has been kicked off the case after he was caught using his phone during the prosecutor’s opening speech.

Prosecutor Jonathan Ashley-Norman KC spent more than two hours outlining the case against tram driver Alfred Dorris in the historic court one at the Old Bailey on Wednesday.

However during lunch, one of the 12 jurors was reported to trial judge Mr Justice Fraser over his conduct.

After a 45-minute delay in the afternoon session, the judge told the other 11 jurors: “I have discharged juror number seven.”

Offering a brief explanation, he said: “Just so there’s no great mystery about this, juror number seven was using his phone when he should have been paying attention to what the prosecutor was saying by way of opening.

“That’s an obvious contravention of the rules.”

He said the juror’s behaviour was “properly brought to the court’s attention”, and a new juror was then selected to fill the vacant seat.

“It goes without saying that when you are in the jury box would shouldn’t have your phones out”, the judge added. “Please pay attention to what’s happening.”

He also said that he will not be “sitting here like a hawk from now on”, and would trust them to listen carefully to the evidence.

Dorris, 49, from Beckenham, was the driver of a tram which derailed in November 2016, killing seven passengers and injuring many more.

He is accused of a health and safety breach when the train entered a bend close to the Sandilands stop at more than three times the 20kph speed limit.

The court has heard Dorris may have had a “micro-sleep” before the disaster, while he insists he became “disorientated” and blames the transport network operators for what happened.

The trial continues.