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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 July 2007, 02:33 GMT 03:33 UK
Lawyer loses after reality TV victory
By Chris Summers
BBC News

Four men have been convicted of a botched attempt to repeat the devastation of the 7 July attacks in London. One of the men was represented by George Carter-Stephenson QC, who appeared on a reality TV show during the trial.

A scene from The Verdict
George Carter-Stephenson QC in a scene from The Verdict

The line between truth and reality must have seemed a bit blurred for the jurors in the 21 July trial.

Back in February, a reality TV show called The Verdict was aired on BBC Two with a jury of celebrities deciding the fate of a fictional footballer, Damien Scott, accused of rape.

The "defendant" was defended by none other than George Carter-Stephenson QC, who was appearing in person at the very same time at Woolwich Crown Court.

But while Mr Carter-Stephenson won an acquittal for his client on The Verdict, his real-life client, Muktar Ibrahim, was never likely to be found not guilty.

The evidence against Ibrahim was just too overwhelming and even a barrister of the calibre of Mr Carter-Stephenson was unable to win an acquittal.

The Verdict jury
Jeffery Archer - former Tory MP
Honor Blackman - actress
Stan Collymore - former footballer
Jennifer Ellison - actress
Jacqueline Gold - businesswoman
Alex James - musician
MegaMan - musician
Dominic McVey - entrepreneur
Patsy Palmer - actress
Sara Payne - campaigner
Michael Portillo - former Tory MP
Ingrid Tarrant - TV presenter

Mr Carter-Stephenson's previous clients have included rap star Megaman, who was acquitted of murdering a man after a retrial at the Old Bailey.

Megaman, aka Dwayne Vincent, was chosen to play a juror in The Verdict.

BBC spokeswoman Emma D'Almeida said: "All the barristers involved wanted to take part because they thought it was a really important insight into how the legal process works.

"They were interested to know how the dynamics of the jury room worked and it exposes the strengths of the jury system."

The 21 July jurors will all return to anonymity, unlike the celebrities chosen for The Verdict's jury.

But Ms D'Almeida defended the use of celebrity jurors: "The producers wanted people who were instantly recognisable so people would know the possible prejudices they might have and would know what their experiences had been.

"If we chose 12 ordinary people, it would take quite a long time for the audience to get to know them.

"Whereas with Stan Collymore we know that he might have sympathy with the footballer in the case and you know Megaman's experience of the system. In TV you need that sort of shorthand because it saves time."

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