Juror fined for smoking cannabis

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The Independent Online

A juror on a rape trial who smoked a cannabis joint in his lunch hour has been fined £450 after admitting contempt of court.

Shezad Hussain, 26, puffed the drug at a bus stop just yards from the entrance to Bolton Crown Court, Greater Manchester. But he was spotted by a juror on another case who alerted police.

Hussain at first denied but then admitted the offence, blaming stress following a violent attack on his family-owned corner shop by "gangsters". The father-of-one from Hamel Street, Bolton, had been one of 12 jurors on a week-long trial of a man accused of raping a child.

Last Friday, with the jury about to go out to consider its verdicts later that afternoon, the father-of-one went outside on his break when he was spotted smoking the joint by another juror, who retrieved the used butt from the pavement to hand to police.

Hussain at first denied it was his until he had a change of heart and apologised when warned by PC Michael Bailey that the butt could be examined for his DNA. The trial judge then had to adjourn the case while the police investigated and legal discussions took place.

Hussain was dismissed from the jury on Monday and charged with contempt of court.

Yesterday he appeared before the same judge and admitted the charge. Hussain, who works in a Cash & Carry shop as well as the family corner shop, was fined £450: two weeks' wages.