A judge was astonishingly forced to halt the first trial involving TikTok influencer Mahek Bukhari last year after a racism row blew up during the court case.
The racism row can only now be reported following today’s sentencing of Mahek, her mother Ansreen, and six other defendants.
Mahek and her mother Ansreen were both jailed for life earlier this afternoon following the conclusion of the trial.
A judge had to intervene during the first trial last year, which took place between October and December 2022.
An argument erupted between two of the jurors which exposed racist views within the jury panel, the Leicester Mercury reports.
Juror A accused Juror B of having racist views, sparking a “heated” row in the jury room during the final week of the first trial.
The row became so intense that the presiding judge, Mr Justice Saini, ordered them to explain the argument.
Juror A voiced concern about disturbing racist views held by Juror B.
Juror B had spoken about incest and sinister “connections” between the Asian and Middle Eastern defendants. Juror B also wrote a note that suggested other jurors also agreed with the “shocking” racist views they held.
Juror B had spoken about incest and sinister “connections” between the Asian and Middle Eastern defendants.
Juror B wrote a note that suggested other jurors also agreed with the “shocking” racist views they held.
This prompted Justice Saini to stop the trial, as he questioned whether Juror B and others could “faithfully try the defendants and give true verdicts according to the evidence”.
Explaining his decision, Justice Saini said: “I was informed that Juror B was very upset about being ‘called out’ as a ‘racist’ by Juror A.
“The contents of Juror B’s note, no doubt intended to defend that juror’s actions and explain why they were upset, revealed matters of serious concern as to whether Juror B and others within the panel were faithfully adhering to their oaths and affirmations.”
The judge said that the note from Juror B was “disgraceful,” adding: “Juror B’s views, and those potentially of other jurors, who appear to have been a party to discussions with Juror B, have no place in British society in 2022.
“They are even more shocking when one considers they may represent views of those from such a richly diverse community as Leicester and its surrounding areas, from which the jury was drawn.”
The judge deemed that Juror B had “racist attitudes towards Asians on that Juror’s part and potentially on the part of those of other jurors who appear to have been party to discussions with Juror B”.
He said: “Juror B’s note suggests to me that this individual may subscribe to highly negative stereotypes of Asians and seems to have been party to bizarre suggestions, never in issue in this case, of the defendants ‘all committing incest’, of the defendants sleeping with one another, and of having not disclosed this in their evidence.
“The reference to it is pure prejudice based on what I can only regard as racist assumptions about those of Asian heritage.
“What is more worrying is that Juror B and others also appear to have engaged in wild speculation of some undisclosed ‘connections within the group of defendants and others outside of the group’.
“Again, this is suggestive of some sinister non-disclosed connections importing wrongdoing.”
Justice Saini was forced to order a re-trial, with the members of the second jury vetted about any “any reasons why they could not come to fair verdicts”.
The second trial began on April 15 and concluded with verdicts on August 4.