Barbaro juror referred to DPP for disobeying directions

·1-min read

A juror in Ricardo Barbaro's murder trial will be referred to prosecutors for disobeying a judge's directions and independently researching the case.

Barbaro's trial began in Victoria's Supreme Court this week, after the 36-year-old pleaded not guilty to the murder of his on-off girlfriend Ellie Price.

Ms Price, 26, was found dead in her South Melbourne apartment in May 2020.

Fourteen jurors were empanelled for the trial in Melbourne on Monday, including 10 men and four women.

However, the jury was discharged by Justice Lex Lasry on Wednesday morning, after he discovered a juror had conducted their own research on the case.

"It's going to be necessary for me to discharge you," he said.

"I propose to refer the cause of this to the Director of Public Prosecutions."

Justice Lasry had told jurors on Monday they could not investigate, inquire or conduct "any form of independent research concerning any aspect" of the case.

"You must not search for information about this case on Google or similar search engines," he told the jury.

"Jurors, of course, conducting their own research undermines the public confidence in the jury system."

A jury is only permitted to consider evidence that has been presented in court and can be charged with contempt of court for disobeying a judge's directions.

The issue was raised later on Wednesday during openings for a different Supreme Court murder trial for two men.

"It's hard often to get people to do things you want them to do, but you're actually just being asked not to do it," barrister Damian Sheales told that jury.

"Look at the cost of all this - just thrown away."