Number's up for sudoku jurors





As jurors sat day after day in a courtroom listening to testimony from 105 witnesses in a drug trial, it seemed as if some were taking their duties very seriously indeed. They were spotted assiduously taking notes, prompting the judge to compliment them on their diligence. But when one defendant saw they were writing vertically, not horizontally, the secret came out - they had been playing sudoku.

Yesterday the million-dollar trial at Sydney district court was abandoned after the head juror admitted she and four or five others had been playing the popular numbers puzzle for almost the entire hearing.

Questioned by Judge Peter Zahra, the head juror said she had found some of the evidence during the 66-day trial drawn out and that playing the puzzle helped her focus. She admitted some jurors had copied sudoku games and compared results during breaks. She had spent more than half of the trial playing the game.

The puzzle playing was spotted by the two male defendants, who are facing possible life sentences on drug manufacturing and firearms charges.

Defence lawyer Robyn Hakelis said: "I noticed they were writing in all different directions and straight away I thought: 'They're not taking notes.'"

The trial was in its final stages when the judge discharged the jury. The New South Wales sheriff's office will update guidelines, telling jurors it is unacceptable to play games in court. A new trial date, and new jury, will be set.

abandon – rezygnować, zaniechać

assiduously – pilnie, pracowicie

defendant – pozwany, oskarżony

diligence – pilność, pracowitość

discharged - zwolniony

focus – koncentrować się

hearing - przesłuchanie

horizontally - poziomo

juror – przysięgły; jury- ława przysięgłych

prompt – doprowadzać do czegoś, sugerować

spot – zauważać, spostrzegać

testimony - zeznanie

vertically - pionowo

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