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Jurors need not leave their box

Jurors can still reach verdicts by a quick show of hands without even leaving the jury box, three appeal judges ruled yesterday.

Lawyers for Ellistone Rankine, appealing against a conviction for unlawful wounding, had argued that at his trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court, in north-east London, Judge Medawar had wrongly told jurors they could indicate their decision after conferring in court. But the Court of Appeal said the old practice of taking a verdict "in the box" had never been outlawed.

Whether it was wise to do so was another matter, the judges said, but Judge Medawar had made it clear that they could retire to the jury room if they wished. Mr Rankine was cleared on grounds of unsatisfactory identification evidence. Patricia Wynn Davies