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Three men ‘mistakenly’ cleared by jury lose High Court challenge over detention

Three men have lost a High Court bid to challenge their ongoing detention in prison after a jury forewoman’s “mistake” accidentally cleared them of killing a man.

In January, brothers Paul and Matthew Yusuff and their friend Moussa Traore were initially unanimously acquitted by jurors of offences relating to the fatal stabbing of 32-year-old Adrian Keise outside Waterloo Station in London.

Within minutes of the not guilty verdicts being delivered, the jury at the Old Bailey was reconvened after a judge received a note indicating the jurors had not all agreed on their decisions.

When the jury forewoman was asked by Judge Charles Gratwicke if she had made a mistake when she said the jury’s verdicts were unanimous, she replied: “Yes.”

The jurors were sent out to restart their deliberations, and, while they later found Paul Yusuff not guilty of possessing a blade or point, they were unable to reach verdicts on the other counts and were discharged again.

The three men, who denied all the charges against them, sought to challenge their ongoing detention at HMP Belmarsh pending a planned retrial in December, arguing the first not guilty verdicts were “valid” and should not have been “reopened”.

In a 20-page written ruling on Wednesday, three judges rejected their case, concluding the jury forewoman had suffered “a form of stage fright” amid the “stressful environment” of court proceedings.

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Dame Victoria Sharp, who heard the challenge alongside Mr Justice Holgate and Mr Justice Hilliard, said the men’s “continuing detention pending their retrial is lawful”.

The judge said shortly before the verdicts were given, the jury had sent a note “indicating that they were not unanimous”.

“In this case, it is plain from what happened that the forewoman had made a mistake in saying that the jury had reached unanimous verdicts.”

Paul Yusuff, 21, and Matthew Yusuff, 23, had faced charges of murder and were also charged with an alternative count of manslaughter along with Traore, 24.

Lawyers for the trio previously argued their ongoing detention was “illegal” because proceedings became a “nullity” after the jury was discharged following the initial verdicts.

Sky News Source