One of New Zealand’s most notorious killers allegedly contacted a woman on the jury that found him guilty this month of kidnapping.
George Baker, who is serving an 18-year jail term for murdering teenager Liam Ashley, was found guilty on August 2 of kidnapping, threatening to kill and assault with an offensive weapon.He had taken an elderly prisoner hostage with a weapon at Paremoremo last year and tried to kidnap a jailer.
However, during his trial in the Auckland District Court, a female juror was discharged midway through.
The middle-aged married woman contacted police after receiving a letter signed with Baker’s name at her Auckland home, One News reported last night.
He allegedly sent the letter after getting her contact details from a list of jurors’ names, addresses and occupations.
It is understood the letter had romantic overtures and was not threatening.
Oh yuck. I think that would be even worse than getting a threat.
Two Auckland criminal lawyers said last night that the time had come to legislate to prevent a similar incident and to better protect jurors.
Gary Gotlieb said anyone facing a trial was given a list of around 200 names of potential jurors to look through in case they knew someone on it or lived in the same neighbourhood.
“It’s about six or seven pages and you only get it for about five minutes.”
He said addresses and occupations should be taken off the list, in order to further protect potential jurors.
An alternative is that if a defendant chooses, against all advice, to defend themselves that they shouldn’t be given access to the jury list at all. By giving them access if they do turn down legal representation, creates a perverse incentive to do so.