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Jurors to be questioned over murder trial deliberations

Jurors involved in a murder trial are all to be questioned about their deliberations in the case, the Court of Appeal heard yesterday.

Cleveland Rogers and Katrina Burgess were both jailed for the murder of Marcus Gibbings, who was fatally stabbed in 2006.

The half siblings have launched an appeal against their convictions, arguing that the jury were under undue pressure to deliver a verdict and that their individual cases were improperly tangled together, making the conviction unsound.

Sir Christopher Clarke, president of the Court of Appeal, said the court intends to question all of the jurors in the case about their deliberations.

He called on the lawyers in the case to work together to craft a list of written questions to be asked.

The judge said: “It seems to us the critical question is as to whether or not the jurors accepted the validity of the two confessions by Rogers.”

The issue arose after Mark Daniels, a lawyer involved in the trial, said in an affidavit that after the trials conclusion he was approached by a juror.

The juror told Mr Daniels that the jury had been split, but all those who were in favour of finding the defendants not guilty reversed their decisions to avoid being sequestered overnight.

The Court of Appeal heard yesterday that the Supreme Court Registrar had spoken to the jury foreman from the trial, who denied the version of events given to the lawyer.

But lawyers for both Rogers and Burgess said the foreman’s statement had raised other potential concerns about the jury’s deliberations and their verdict.

Susan Mulligan, counsel for Rogers, said the foreman had told the Registrar that the jury did not give great weight to confession evidence in the case, which raised question over what the basis for the conviction was.

She said the comments could be enough to allow the Court of Appeal to declare a mistrial.

Charles Richardson, counsel for Burgess, said the insight into the jury’s deliberations was “frightening” and “concerning”.

Carrington Mahoney, for the Crown, however said the foreman’s comments were their opinion and may not accurately reflect the thoughts and views of the other jurors.

He suggested that all of the jurors should be interviewed – within limits – to determine if the conviction was safe.

Burgess and Rogers were both sentenced to 25 years behind bars last year for the murder of Mr Gibbings.

Prosecutors alleged that Burgess paid Rogers $5,000 to carry out the fatal attack after the collapse of her relationship with the victim.

The Crown claimed that Burgess lured Mr Gibbings to an apartment they once shared, where he was ambushed and stabbed to death by Rogers.

The plot came to light after two of Rogers’ ex-girlfriends told police that he had confessed his involvement in the crime to them.