Jurors' behaviour questioned

The behaviour of some jurors in the David Bain retrial has been questioned after they hugged the subject of their deliberations and went to a victory party in Christchurch.

Some jurors shook Bain's hand after the verdicts.

One hugged Bain outside the courtroom and later attended the party with a fellow juror.

As soon as they arrived, Bain's lawyers left the room and shortly after that the pair were asked to leave.

Yesterday, an interview with one of those jurors was published in the Herald on Sunday.

The juror did not discuss details, but rather the emotional toll the case had taken on her.

Michael Reed, QC, who led Bain's defence team, said it was "entirely understandable" for jury members to want to meet the subject of their deliberations.

He said the juror's interview was also understandable because it highlighted the burden of jury duty.

"And good on them, in a way," he said.

"I think it was quite nice to hear how they were suffering; how they feel, the abysmal way they are paid and how they suffered financially.

"I would be in favour of more openness with a jury and finding out what's going on."

Dr Chris Gallavin, a senior law lecturer at Canterbury University, said some of the jurors' behaviour was unusual, but so was the case.

"If they'd talked about deliberations, they could be charged with contempt of court," he said.

"I don't think you can read anything into it by thinking they were biased from the start.

"Imagine spending three months on New Zealand's biggest criminal case.

"I can imagine at the end of it they might be feeling relieved, elated and pretty emotional.

"While this is unusual behaviour, the whole case is an unusual case.

"Some would be bloody relieved to go home, but others might be feeling emotionally shattered and want to be in the company of the people they felt they could talk to."

The Press