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Brimble jury discharged -

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Brimble jury discharged

Barbara Miller reported this story on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 12:30:00

ELEANOR HALL: But now to the drama at the New South Wales Supreme Court where the Judge has
dismissed the jury in the trial over Diane Brimble's death.

Despite a week of deliberation, the jury members were unable to reach a verdict in the manslaughter
trial of the South Australian man, Mark Wilhelm.

Miss Brimble was found dead on the floor of his cruise ship cabin seven years ago.

Barbara Miller is at the NSW Supreme Court and she joins us now.

So Barbara, what does this mean for the prosecutor's manslaughter case?

BARBARA MILLER: Well, this case is over Eleanor. The jury of five men and seven women have been
dismissed. The Judge told them they had done an excellent job and they had in no way failed the
community by being unable to reach a verdict. He said they showed that they were true to their
oath.

The question now is whether there will be a retrial of this case and that is one that we don't know
the answer to yet.

ELEANOR HALL: Already some of the charges had been reduced. Tell us about that?

BARBARA MILLER: Yeah, it has been a little complex. In the closing stages of the trial the Crown
withdrew a charge of criminal negligence on the part of Mark Wilhelm.

They began the trial in the middle of last month saying that they wanted to show that by not
seeking medical help earlier for Diane Brimble, this was when she was lying face down naked on the
floor of his cruise ship cabin and having defecated, that he should have sort medical help for her
earlier and that by not doing so he had failed in a duty of care to her.

The prosecution was unable to show though exactly at what point Diane Brimble died and therefore it
was unable to show whether or not he had a duty of care to her at that time.

That charge was then thrown out shortly before the jury went into its week long deliberation.

ELEANOR HALL: So what charge was remaining?

BARBARA MILLER: There was a charge of manslaughter and there was a charge of supply of the drug
Fantasy which is also known as GHB. The jury came back yesterday and said they had reached a
unanimous verdict on one of those charges. Now it wasn't specified which one. One can speculate
that was perhaps the issue of supply.

They had been unable to reach a unanimous verdict on the manslaughter charge. The Judge then gave
them the option of reaching a majority verdict. That is what they have been trying to do between
yesterday and today but they came back today and said even if given more time, they were sure that
they could not reach a majority 11 to one decision.

ELEANOR HALL: So what was the reaction in the courtroom when the jury came back with that message?

BARBARA MILLER: Very muted. I think there had been some speculation that if, because the jury
didn't come back straight at 10 o'clock when the court would have opened, there was speculation
among the waiting media that they perhaps were having trouble reaching that 11 to one decision.

Mark Wilhelm remained very calm, very impassive and the matter was all over with very quickly, very
calmly.

ELEANOR HALL: Has Mark Wilhelm or his lawyer made any comments outside the court?

BARBARA MILLER: They emerged from the court shortly afterwards. His lawyer George Thomas said there
would be no comment. The media pack then followed George Thomas and Mark Wilhelm for some time.

Mark Wilhelm appeared distressed by the crowd around him, at one point he was almost pinned in
against the fence and his lawyer then shielded him and escorted him away from the media without
either making any more comment.

ELEANOR HALL: And Barbara is there any deadline for the Crown to decide on whether or not there
will be a retrial?

BARBARA MILLER: That has not been specified at this time. I think we will perhaps wait later in the
day for those details.

ELEANOR HALL: Barbara Miller at the New South Wales Supreme Court, thank you.