A juror was dismissed from PC Andrew Harper’s murder trial after repeatedly smiling at his killers and saying “bye boys” as she walked past the dock.
The judge had dismissed the juror before the remaining 11 jurors retired to consider their verdict.
The remaining 11 jurors found Long, Bowen and Cole guilty of manslaughter, but not guilty of murder.
A security guard had spotted the female juror as she acted in an ‘overtly firendly manner’ towards the three men responsible for the tragic death of PC Andrew Harper.
The court clerk raised the matter with the presiding judge.
Mr Justice Edis discharged the juror on 20th July before he was due to sum up the case after four weeks of often harrowing evidence.
‘In this case, an extremely unfortunate incident has taken place.
‘On Friday (17th July) all three of the defendants’ counsel addressed the jury and at the end of that process a little after 3pm the jury was sent home for the weekend.
‘After that the court clerk informed me that a prison officer sitting in the dock with the defendant had seen a juror smiling at the dock and therefore the defendants more than once during the day.
‘However, as she left she walked by the defendants and said: “Bye boys”.
‘The facts of this case are that as a result of a criminal venture in which one the defendants is undoubtedly guilty of manslaughter because he has pleaded guilty, a young police officer lost his life in horrific circumstances.
‘It is therefore a little surprising to see a juror is positively going out of their way to behave in what some might describe as an overtly friendly manner.
‘She must have been compelled by some quite strong motivation to behave as she did in this court.
‘It is overt and covert at the same time. It is remarkable behaviour. The question is: “Does it demonstrate an apparent lack of impartiality in accordance with the appropriate procedural test?”
‘In my judgement it does.’
Earlier on this afternoon, Lissie Harper, PC Andrew Harper’s widow, made an emotional statement outside the court and said she was ‘utterly shocked’ and ‘immensely disappointed’ at the verdict.
Long, Bowen and Cole are due to be sentenced next week. The maximum penalty for manslaughter is life in prison.