Judges dismiss trial appeal over sick juror

AN OUTBREAK of tuberculosis in the jury room prompted a former lap-dancing club owner to claim that he did not get a fair trial on gun and drugs charges.

Graeme Dean, 40, involved in running Indigo Red in Seaside, was jailed for five years at Croydon Crown Court in September last year, after being found guilty of a string of charges.

But lawyers argued his name should be cleared - because jurors were ‘under undue pressure’ to reach verdicts after one of them was diagnosed with highly infectious TB.

Dean’s legal team told the Appeal Court the remaining 11 jurors’ deliberations were ‘derailed’ by concerns they might have caught the potentially fatal lung disease.

However, Dean’s appeal was dismissed by three senior judges, who said this was ‘speculation’ and the convictions were ‘safe’.

Lady Justice Hallett told the court Dean and his fiancee, model and aspiring actress Suzy Deakin, were arrested after their home was raided by police in May 2009.

Officers discovered a laptop bag containing a loaded Baikal handgun, converted to fire bullets instead of tear gas, which had been hidden inside a sports sock.

Several wraps of cocaine were found at the property, as well as a wrap of cannabis resin, a small amount of ketamine, and tubs containing a mixture of the then legal drug, GBL, and GHB - known as a date-rape drug.

They also found a balaclava, an air gun, three knives, a knuckleduster, 390 US dollars and 635 Euros hidden in a wardrobe, a set of scales and 2kg of mannitol - an industrial sweetener which is sometimes used to cut cocaine.

Dean, of Cheam Close, Tadworth, claimed he knew nothing about the weapon or the cocaine and cannabis, saying they must have belonged to Ms Deakin.

He admitted possession of ketamine and said he knew about the GHB/GBL mixture, but thought it was just GBL, used for body-building.

Dismissing the appeal, Lady Justice Hallett said “A reasonable examination of all the events of the day in question do not lead us to the conclusion that this jury felt – either consciously or sub-consciously – that they were under undue pressure.”