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EDITIONS
Thursday, 15 November, 2001, 15:50 GMT
New Sarah jury sent home
Sara Payne and her husband Michael
Sarah Payne's parents were at the court
The new jury in the Sarah Payne murder trial has been sworn in and then sent home just hours after the first jury was discharged.

The trial at Lewes Crown Court was unexpectedly halted at around 1100 GMT, a day and a half into the prosecution opening of the case against defendant Roy Whiting.

High Court judge Sir Richard Curtis said a "procedural irregularity" meant he was forced to discharge the first jury.

When the court reconvened at 1430GMT a new jury was sworn in, and later sent home until Friday morning while the court heard legal submissions.

Mr Whiting, 42, formerly of Littlehampton, West Sussex, pleads not guilty to abducting and murdering Sarah in July 2000.
Sarah Payne
Sarah's body was found 16 days after she disappeared

The new jury-in-waiting was asked if they had helped in the search for eight-year-old Sarah, after her disappearance from a field near Kingston Gorse on 1 July last year.

Jury members were also asked if they had helped police with their investigation, if they or anyone close to them knew the Payne family, the Whiting family or any members of the Sussex Police investigating team.

One man replied that he, or someone he knew, was connected to the Sussex Police team and was asked to leave the courtroom.

Earlier the judge said: "The jury were discharged on the grounds of a procedural irregularity. It was necessary for me to do so. It was done with the agreement of both parties.

"It is neither usual or appropriate in this case for the reasons for discharge to be made public until the conclusion of the trial of this accused."

The trial continues.

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The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"The trial has come to a halt"
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