A WOMAN believed to be the fiancée of Harley Hicks was cautioned in the Supreme Court after taking notes while witnesses were giving evidence and following them out of the courtroom.
Crown prosecutor Michele Williams SC told the court Jodie Tansley was seen by the police informant for the case “writing things down and then going and approaching witnesses’’.
“It seems to be after they’ve given their evidence, but I’m raising it really as a matter of caution,’’ she said.
Justice Stephen Kaye said such conduct would be entirely inappropriate and “should be stopped immediately’’.
“If that is occurring it is quite inappropriate for someone in court to then approach who’s given their evidence afterwards,’’ he said.
“Whatever that person is doing with the witnesses it is to desist immediately,’’ he said.
“That is a direction and should be brought before me the next time it’s observed.
“Firstly, there’s a detriment that could be occasioned by what she’s doing to the accused… secondly, I’m concerned with any other repercussions this could lead the lady in question in very deep trouble.’’
When the matter was again raised by the prosecution, defence counsel David Hallowes also raised concerns about the impact of Ms Tansley’s behaviour on his client.
“What your honour says about the concerns that we have about it may affect the jury’s perception of my client are concerns that I certainly have,’’ he said.
In addressing Ms Tansley in the court, Justice Kaye warned her she could be in contempt of court.
“It has been reported to me … that you have been consistently leaving the court very shortly after witnesses, who have just completed their evidence.
“I do not know what you are doing out there, but firstly if you are approaching a witness who has given their evidence, speaking to them or making any gesture to them, you could be committing a contempt of court for which the penalty is usually jail,’’ he said.
“Secondly, and even more importantly than that, is what we have a very observant, conscientious jury … it is quite possible, if not probable, that they will observe your conduct. By doing that you could well be inflicting grave damage to the case of the accused man, Harley Hicks. Do you understand that?
“You are not to do it again.
“Now that has a force of direction by my that you are not to leave the courtroom shortly after a witness has given their evidence and you are not to approach any witness in the precincts of this court.
“If you breach that direction, I will deal with you for contempt.
“I should not have had to have said that to you… you may remain in court, but make sure nothing you do prejudices this case.’’