TOOWOOMBA horse racing identity Sam Hamade, who was jailed for raping a child, lost his bid for a new trial yesterday after claiming the policeman guarding him during his trial was flirting with a juror.
Hamade’s barrister Russell Sweet told the Court of Appeal last month his client should be granted a new trial because of apprehended bias in the jury.
Hamade, 38, was jailed for nine years after being found guilty of raping and indecently assaulting a 14-year-old girl stable hand on various dates between January 2007 and July 2008.
The father of three was convicted on April 23 last year after a nine-day trial and sentenced on June 25 last year.
The court heard the police officer was romantically interested in a female member of the jury and was using hand signals to communicate to a juror asking her age and whether she was single.
The Court of Appeal’s president, Margaret McMurdo, yesterday said the police officer’s communications with the juror or jurors did not concern the merits of the trial.
Ms McMurdo said, in light of the “trial judge’s careful and proper directions throughout the trial and her Honour’s immediate and appropriate response to this matter”, she was confident any member of the public would not reasonably apprehend bias.
The appeal was dismissed.
She made scathing remarks about the police officer’s conduct and noted a request for the officer to be counselled over the incident.
“The conduct of the police officer was immature and reprehensible,” Ms McMurdo said.
“It showed a complete lack of insight into the solemnity of a criminal trial.”
Hamade will be eligible for parole on January 22, 2015.
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