Was the case against Jackson 'not proven'?
WASN'T it dramatic as Sky TV announced that the jury had reached their verdicts after more than 30 hours of deliberations in the Michael Jackson trial?
It certainly made good viewing, blighted only by Sky's "maximum time to verdict clock" which failed to take into account the speed of the wheels of justice.
Following ten not guilty verdicts, there was of course a media circus. That is not unique to America and it is not unknown for those representing the accused in the UK to make comments. It is, after all, their moment of glory.
The true extent of the differences in our two systems become abundantly clear when the jurors gave their reasons to the assembled press for reaching the verdicts - as the practice is alien to the British systems of justice.
The jury of eight women and four men said there had simply not been enough evidence for a guilty verdict: "We had a closet full of evidence that always came back to the same thing - it was not enough."
They talked to reporters about how they had treated Jackson like any other individual, not as a celebrity, how they spent a lot of time really seriously studying the evidence and looking at the testimony and jury instructions, and how no single piece of evidence stood out above any other.
Just like any jury across the world there were things that annoyed them. In particular jurors found Janet Arvizo "intimidating" as she snapped her fingers at them while giving evidence. An elderly juror said: "She did not take her eyes off us. That was very intimidating." They didn't like Arvizo, on whom the prosecution case hinged.
It doesn't matter if you are in the High Court in Glasgow or a courthouse in California, some things will get a jury's hackles up. It's just in this country they don't say what they were, because they can't. The Contempt of Court Act 1981 makes it a criminal offence to obtain, disclose or solicit any particulars of statements made, opinions expressed, arguments advanced or votes cast by members of a jury in the course of their deliberations in any legal proceedings.
Perhaps the best insight we got from the jury was that they "expected better evidence". They were waiting for a smoking gun which simply wasn't there.
Even without that better evidence, jury foreman Paul Rodriguez said jurors were very troubled that Jackson, by his own admission, had sleep-overs with children. Another said that she was troubled by the singer's behaviour and one juror, Raymond Hultman, told CNN he felt "Michael Jackson probably has molested boys" but the evidence presented was insufficient to convict him. Would that not amount to a not proven verdict in Scotland? Perhaps "that bastard verdict" is alive and well in California.
With book deals in the offing, one juror said: "It has not been easy. My wife says I do not smile any more." I can't wait for him to raise an action over that.
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