In the Media

Joanna Yeates murder trial begins with warning to potential jurors

PUBLISHED October 4, 2011

Judge tells 18 candidates not to research background to trial of Vincent Tabak who is accused of killing architect Potential jurors in the trial of Vincent Tabak, the man accused of murdering Joanna Yeates, have been warned not to do any background research on the case. Eighteen possible jurors have been selected to hear the case against Tabak, who is alleged to have murdered landscape architect Yeates, 25, just before Christmas last year. Twelve of them are due to be sworn in on Wednesday and they have been told that the case may be opened by the prosecution at Bristol crown court on Friday. The judge, Mr Justice Field, told the potential jurors they now knew who the defendant and the person who died were. "I must instruct you to avoid undertaking any inquiries at all about the background of this case," he said, also telling them not to look at newspapers reports of the first day's proceedings. Field added that he did not want the jurors to hunt for old reports about the case by using "computer search engines or any other method," and told them not to discuss the case with anybody at home. The judge said that the defendant had to be tried only on the evidence that was put before the court. "If other information starts to leak in, that pollutes the system of justice," he said. Bespectacled Tabak, a 33-year-old engineer, wore a dark suit, shirt and tie. He was told he was entitled to object to any juror. Asked if he understood he replied simply: "I understand." Before being selected the jurors had answered a series of questions to make sure they were not connected with people or businesses involved in the case. They were told that they would have to be available for the next four weeks. Yeates went missing after pre-Christmas drinks with friends near Bristol city centre. After a high-profile search her frozen body was found on a country lane on Christmas morning three miles from her home in Clifton, Bristol. Tabak is being represented by William Clegg QC. Nigel Lickley QC prosecutes. The trial continues. ? The picture caption on this article was amended on 5 October Joanna Yeates Crime Steven Morris © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds