Date: 29th August 2000

Aussie Broadcaster Goes On Trial For Interview With Juror

In a trial that could have significant ramifications for Australian journalists, radio broadcaster John Laws has responded in court to charges of soliciting information from a former juror for the purposes of obtaining information about the deliberations of a jury.

According to Australian news reports, Laws testified on Monday that he called the juror after glancing at a newspaper story headlined "Juror Tells" and assuming she was talking about her role as one of the jurors who had acquitted two men of murder.

Instead, he said, the story told how the woman had called the victim's widow and had told her that she had been browbeaten by fellow jurors into agreeing to the acquittals. Laws insisted that he hadn't "the slightest interest" in knowing about the jury's deliberations but had simply wanted to give the juror an opportunity to respond to the newspaper stories.

In the U.S., it is a commonplace occurrence for jurors in high-profile trials to be interviewed on television about their deliberations.

Source: Studio Briefing