LONDON, UK – Three men accused of killing a 32-year-old man outside Waterloo Station were mistakenly cleared of all charges after a jury forewoman admitted to making a “mistake” during the trial at the Old Bailey. The shocking turn of events left the family of the victim, Adrian Keise, devastated and emotional. Brothers Paul and Matthew Yusuff, along with their friend Moussa Traore, had been facing charges over Keise’s death.
The 11-member jury deliberated for over 10 hours when it seemed likely they would deliver a majority verdict. However, the forewoman twice confirmed that the jury had reached a unanimous decision to acquit the defendants. Shortly after the jury was discharged, Judge Charles Gratwicke was made aware of a note from the jury indicating an error had occurred.
Despite objections from the defense counsels, the judge decided to recall the jury and questioned the forewoman about the mistake. It was revealed that she had indeed made an error in stating that the jury had unanimous verdicts. The judge then instructed the jurors to resume deliberations and accept a verdict on which at least 10 members agreed.
After deliberating for a total of 12 hours and 44 minutes, the jury was discharged for the second time. Initially, the forewoman incorrectly stated that they had reached no verdicts on which at least 10 members agreed. However, she quickly corrected herself and found Paul Yusuff not guilty of possession of a blade or point. The jury, however, remained unable to agree on verdicts regarding the other charges, which included murder and manslaughter.
With the jury discharged, Judge Gratwicke excused them from service for 10 years. The jurors had been reduced from 12 to 11 due to the illness and subsequent death of one of their members before Christmas. Defense barrister Kerim Fuad KC expressed deep concern over the situation, highlighting the potential illegality of the defendants’ continued detention following the verdict.
The prosecution now has seven days to decide whether to seek a retrial. During the trial, it was alleged that Matthew Yusuff had chased and surrounded Keise while wielding a bottle, and Paul Yusuff had stabbed him three times in the back with a knife. Keise was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to his injuries.
The trial previously revealed that Keise had spent the evening drinking with friends at a pub in Stamford Street before crossing paths with the defendants in the vicinity of Cubana Bar near Waterloo Station. Prosecutor William Davis described how a minor disagreement had quickly escalated into a violent altercation, emphasizing the disproportionate nature of the violence in central London streets.
CCTV footage presented to the jury showed the defendants allegedly cornering Keise. Throughout the trial, all three defendants denied the charges against them.
In light of the unexpected turn of events, the victim’s family and legal representatives await the prosecution’s decision on whether to pursue a retrial. The case serves as a reminder of the challenges in ensuring a fair and just outcome in the criminal justice system.