Gladstone, AU -- A Juror was discharged from a rape trial after he sent a text message to a workmate claiming if the accused in the case was black he would convict him. The remainder of the jury heard the case after the judge refused a defense application to have the entire jury discharged. They convicted Hoane Joseph Kahu of one count of rape but were unable to reach a verdict on two other counts of rape.
The trial in Gladstone District Court heard a girl, 15, was drinking with friends but became separated from them on March 5, last year. The Crown alleged she was walking along a street when she met Kahu who allegedly raped her. He initially denied meeting the girl but after his DNA was found on her dress he claimed he had sex with her within three minutes of them meeting. The jury could reach a verdict only on a count of oral rape.
Kahu appealed on two grounds - that the entire jury was tainted by racial bias from the discharged juror and that the conviction on one count was unsafe and unsatisfactory in the light of acquittals on other counts. Unanimously, the Court of Appeal dismissed Kahu's appeal against conviction.
Justice Pat Keane said the juror who sent the text message o a workmate had been discharged because he disobeyed the judge's direction not to discuss the case with anyone outside the jury. The text message read: "If the accused is black I am going to say guilty."
Justice Keane said there was nothing to suggest the discharged juror had affected the views of the remaining jurors.
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