THE SEXUAL assault trial of a Rugby man was almost halted after two “hopelessly irresponsible” jurors were heard discussing the case on a bus.
Steven Bradshaw, 28, of Liza Court, Rugby, ‘tried his luck’ by groping a young woman while she was in a drunken sleep.
He was found guilty of sexual assault but not guilty of another sexually related charge, having denied both charges. The case was adjourned for a pre-sentence report to be prepared on him, and he was granted bail.
The jury heard that in August 2013 Bradshaw groped his victim despite her protests after she fell asleep at a get-together at a house in Rugby.
Both Bradshaw and the young woman had been drinking, and she accepted she had given him ‘a peck on the lips,’ but that everything after that was without her consent.
The young woman, who had also been smoking cannabis, said she was asleep in an upstairs bedroom when she felt someone cuddle up to her and, thinking it was her boyfriend, gave him a kiss.
When he began to touch her, she realised it was not her boyfriend and told him to get off.
She told the jury Bradshaw pulled her top down, got on top of her and said ‘this is what you want’, to which she replied ‘no it isn’t’.
Bradshaw said: “I was trying my luck. She responded by turning to me and rolling onto her back and kissing my lips.”
And he claimed: “We were fondling each-other. She then said ‘I don’t want to do this,’ and I stopped.”
The judge, Recorder Adrian Redgrave QC, pointed out: “The defendant’s case is that ‘I was a normal young person trying it on with a girl, and I did nothing to which she did not consent’.”
But the jury rejected Bradshaw’s version of what had happened.
Recorder Redgrave said: “In law a person consents if he or she agrees by choice – and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.”
Two of the jurors had earlier jeopardised the trial when they ignored a warning from the judge not to discuss the case away from the jury room.
A witness in the trial who was on the same bus told them what they were doing was inappropriate, only to be met with abuse form one of them, the court heard.
But after reprimanding them, Recorder Redgrave decided not to discharge the jury and allowed them to continue their deliberation.
He told the two jurors: “What you did was hopelessly irresponsible and wrong, and you must have known it.
“The consequences of your verdict are nothing to do with you. Your duty is to reach verdicts fairly and responsibly based on the evidence you’ve heard in court.”