Jailed teenage juror: I was stupid

 

A teenage juror jailed for halting a trial after pretending he was ill so he could watch a musical admitted today that he had been "stupid".

Matthew Banks, 19, was released this morning after serving four days of a 14-day sentence at a young offenders' institution.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, he said he had no idea that the trial would have to be halted while he was not there as he had heard that cases sometimes sat with just 11 jurors.

He said he could not put into words how much he regretted his actions during the trial at Manchester Crown Court, after which he was found to be in contempt of court.

He told Victoria Derbyshire: "I don't know how to say how much I do regret what I did. Hindsight is a brilliant thing and I know I would not have done it if I had any idea that the case would have to be postponed.

"I knew it was stupid, but the ticket had been bought for me for a present and there was just a lot of people I didn't want to let down."

Mr Banks, who is studying French at Manchester University, said he had no idea he would end up in jail.

He said: "When I was told to go to court I was just told that the judge might want to speak to me before the case restarted, then I was taken straight up to the dock and remanded in custody.

"I spoke to a barrister who said he was probably just flexing his legal muscles and I should get a fine.

"When I found out I was going to prison I just felt numb."

Mr Banks went to London to see Chicago with his mother, Debbie Ennis, 49, who told the radio show she had no idea her son was meant to be sitting on the jury that day.

She said she thought the sentence was "very harsh", adding: "When you think that there are people that commit crimes that hurt other people and they get off."

Mr Banks said he was "happy" to have been released before Christmas, adding that he had been locked in his cell for his own safety after his fellow inmates had found out that he was gay.

"People were just negative from then on," he said. "Before that people were quite ok to me, they just let me be really. But as soon as they found that out I started to get a lot of trouble."

Mrs Ennis said the family was now looking at appealing his conviction as it could damage her son's future job prospects.

The week-long trial that Mr Banks had been sitting on later continued in his absence with the remaining 11 jurors reaching a verdict.

Judge Martin Rudland, who presided over the trial and sentenced Mr Banks, labelled him "frivolous".

He said he locked him up "with a heavy heart" but added that lying to court officials for such a frivolous reason was a serious offence, which carries a maximum sentence of two years.

PA

Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
Sport
Lewis Hamtilon and pole-sitter Nico Rosberg
SportShould F1's most aggressive driver curb his instincts in title decider?
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Sport
Tony Bellew (left) and Nathan Cleverly clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool
boxingLate surge sees Liverpudlian move into world title contention
Voices
Neil Findlay
voicesThe vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
food + drinkMeat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin