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Australia Juror's bullying claim prompts warning by judge in case involving doctor accused of sexual assault

11:00  09 july  2018
11:00  09 july  2018 Source:   abc.net.au

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A District Court judge warns jurors deliberating in the trial of a Newcastle doctor not to bully each other as they deliberate on dozens of sexual abuse allegations.

American comedian Bill Cosby has been the subject of publicized sexual assault allegations, with the earliest incidents allegedly taking place in the mid-1960 s . He has been accused by numerous women of rape, drug-facilitated sexual assault , sexual battery, child sexual abuse, and sexual misconduct.

Newcastle doctor Jeremy Coleman says all internal examinations had a proper medical purpose.© Provided by ABC News Newcastle doctor Jeremy Coleman says all internal examinations had a proper medical purpose.

A juror deliberating in the trial of a Newcastle doctor accused of sexually assaulting patients has alleged being bullied into making a decision, prompting a warning by the judge.

Doctor Jeremy Michael Stafford Coleman, 64, has been charged with 66 sexual and indecent assault offences.

The District Court heard the offences allegedly happened over 20 years up to 2013 at clinics in Newcastle and Kanwal on the New South Wales central coast.

Dr Coleman's trial has spanned 10 months and is the longest of its type in Newcastle's history.

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In her closing address, defence barrister Pauline David late last month argued all of Dr Coleman's examinations had been done for a proper medical purpose and not a sexual one.

Crown prosecutor Paul Marr rejected that and said the doctor had had a sexual motive.

Judge alerted to 'tensions in jury room'

As the jury began deliberating for a sixth day, judge Penelope Hock was alerted to what she called tensions in the jury room.

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Only complaints made “ promptly ” could proceed. Jurors were explicitly warned to evaluate the complainant’ s testimony with special suspicion. Although the poor handling of sexual assault allegations is rampant, police responses tend to be particularly defective in cases involving women

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Judge Hock told the jury she had received a note by a juror alleging they had been pressured to make a decision.

"The bullying needs to stop. I will not be rushed. I need to be comfortable to make the right decision," the juror told the judge.

Judge Hock said the note was of concern.

"No juror has the right to seek to overcome the decisions of another juror or to bully a juror," she said.

"You all have a duty to listen carefully and be objective to the views of every one of your fellow jurors.

"Calmly weigh up opinions about the evidence and test them by discussion."

Judge Hock advised the jurors they must treat each other politely at all times and must make a decision based only on the evidence.

"Obviously you are not expected to sit out there indefinitely, so if you can't make a decision on any count could you please write me a note," she said.

Jury advised to examine case carefully

Judge Hock took several days to give directions to the jury before it started deliberating.

She said many of the women had waited years to make complaints and only did so after police issued media releases.

She said as a result, the jury would have to examine the crown's case carefully.

But she said delayed reporting of alleged abuse did not mean a person was untruthful.

The judge also said the jury needed to consider each woman's case individually, stressing it was up to the crown to prove the charges beyond reasonable doubt.

"Suspicion is not good enough," Judge Hock said.

The jury will have a rest day on Tuesday and resume deliberations on Wednesday.

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