Juror skipped trial to go to theatre

A teenage juror who halted a trial by pretending he was ill so he could sneak off to see a stage show in London has been detained for 14 days, the Judicial Communica-tions Office confirmed yesterday.

Matthew Banks, 19, faces Christmas in a young offenders institution after he told officials at Manchester Crown Court he was too ill to attend the trial. As a result, the proceedings were halted for a day while Banks went to see Chicago in the West End.

Judge Martin Rudland labelled the university student "frivolous" and ordered he serve two weeks in a young offenders institution as punishment.

The teenager's mother, Debbie Ennis, 49, from Staffordshire, told the Manchester Evening News the sentence was "ludicrous" and vowed to appeal and have her son home for Christmas.

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