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Getting the Message Across Clearly

Cardiff, Wales. When a juror coughed, defendant Alan Rashid had a right to feel sick.

The cough came just as the jury foreman announced a verdict of “not guilty” in Rashid’s trial on a charge of threatening homicide.

The cough coincided with “not,” Judge Michael Gibbon only heard “guilty,” and Rashid was sentenced to two years in prison.

As the jury left the court Thursday, one inquisitive member of the panel asked an usher why Rashid was going to jail after being found innocent. So the jurors were herded back into court.

“It was a very bizarre situation, and I’ve never heard of it happening before,” said Nicholas Williamson, the court manager.

Rashid was brought back to court, the jury confirmed its verdict of “not guilty,” and Gibbon told the defendant he was free to go.

“I am very relieved, as you would imagine,” Rashid said.

Spokesman-Review, April 18, 1999