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The BBC's Peter Hunt
"No hard evidence to back up the claims"
 real 28k

Nick Makin, solicitor
"We can only speculate as to what went on in the jury's mind"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 26 April, 2000, 02:20 GMT 03:20 UK
New bid for jury nobbling inquiry
Tony Martin
Tony Martin: Appealing against conviction
Lawyers for farmer Tony Martin are to make new legal moves to force an inquiry into claims that jury members at his murder trial were intimidated.

The legal team say they will ask the Court of Appeal to order an investigation into the allegations. They will also ask for trial documents relating to jury intimidation.

The move follows an initial inquiry on Tuesday by officials at Norwich Crown Court, where the trial took place.

The officials announced after several hours of talks that no more action was planned, because there was no hard evidence to back up the claims.

Martin, 55, was jailed for life after being found guilty of the murder of 16-year-old burglar Fred Barras, and wounding his accomplice, Brendan Fearon.


Fred Barras
Fred Barras: Murdered during burglary
Both men were shot after breaking into Martin's isolated farmhouse, Bleak House, at Emneth Hungate, near Emneth, Norfolk.

The concern about possible intimidation was expressed by lawyers after a woman claiming to be a juror called a Norwich-based local radio phone-in, the day after the conviction.

The radio station, Broadland 102 FM, later said that the woman caller had not spoken of being "intimidated, pressured or nobbled".

But Martin's solicitor, Nick Makin, said he had since had "interesting" phone conversations with several jurors.

The lawyers say an appeal will be formally lodged by Friday, and it is important to "get to the bottom" of the allegations.

"We feel we have got plenty of other grounds for appeal but if there proves to be anything in these allegations of intimidation then that would no doubt play a part in any appeal," said Michael Ballinger, another member of Martin's legal team.

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23 Apr 00 | UK
Jailed farmer to appeal
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