Murder Convict Wins Retrial Because Jury Members Used Ouija Board
Undated (AP) _ LONDON (AP) - A man jailed for life for a double murder has won a retrial because four members of the jury used a ouija board to consult the spirit of one of his alleged victims.
″Bizarre″ was what an article in The Times of London today called the Court of Appeal case.
In a ruling Monday, Chief Justice Lord Taylor and two other judges threw out the two convictions against insurance broker Stephen Young and ordered him to be retried at London’s Central Criminal Court.
Young, 35, will stay in prison until the retrial.
Last March, Young was jailed for life after a Crown Court jury in Hove, 50 miles south of London, found him guilty of murdering newlyweds Harry and Nicola Fuller. Young had pleaded innocent.
Members of the 12-member jury had been lodged at a local hotel during the trial, per normal British practice.
Young’s lawyer, David Penry-Davey, told the Court of Appeal panel that four of the jurors decided one night as an experiment to use a ouija board to consult Fuller’s spirit to ask him who the murderer was.
A ouija board - used in spiritualistic seances to supposedly convey messages to and from the spirits of dead people - is marked with the letters of the alphabet. Penry-Davey said the four spelled out on the board ″Who did it?″ and claimed to have got the reply that Young was guilty.
They told the other eight jurors about it over breakfast the next day before returning to the trial.
Penry-Davey said the ouija board consultation, which was reported by a newspaper after Young’s conviction, meant the jurors did not stick to the facts presented at the trial when deciding their verdict.
Prosecutor lawyer Michael Lawson, however, argued that the ″drunken experiment″ with the ouija board did not affect the trial’s outcome.
Lord Taylor said the three judges will present legal arguments for reaching their decision at a later date.