The Bruce Lehrmann rape trial in Canberra has been ruled a mistrial after the jury was discharged.
It’s alleged a juror was found to have engaged in misconduct, accessing research paper on sexual assault they shouldn’t have.
Bruce Lehrmann is accused of raping Brittany Higgins in a ministerial office at Parliament House after a night out drinking with work colleagues in 2019.
He has pleaded not guilty to sexual intercourse without her consent.
The trial had been waiting for a verdict since late last week.
The court heard the prohibited research was uncovered when one of the court officers accidentally bumped one of the juror’s folders onto the floor.
When the officer picked up the clear plastic folder, he noticed part of a title of an academic research paper into sexual assault sticking out.
On Thursday, Chief Justice Lucy McCallum with “regret” ruled a mistrial.
“It has come to my attention that one of you.. has undertaken research in relation to issues in the case and that material has entered the jury room that ought not to have.”
“I have heard an explanation, and it may be that no harm has been done, but that is not a risk I can take,” she told the jury.
“During the course of the trial … I must have given the jury at least 17 warnings and prohibitions on undertaking any research of their own.
“This is an unexpected and unfortunate outcome in this trial,” she said.
Ms McCallum said given the circumstances, she had to discharge that juror and then the entire jury.
Ms Higgins and her partner David Sharaz were in the courtroom for the ruling.
Porn floods Twitter “China” search
Twitter users have been finding it hard to search for information on the social media platform due to an explosion of pornographic spam.
While thousands of protests against extended lockdowns, a digital bot army has roared into action on Twitter, with long-dormant Chinese language accounts suddenly tweeting links to escort services and other adult content.
Anyone trying to track the spontaneous protest movement on Twitter complained about the deluge of spam pornographic content making flooding the search for information.
The China protests come at a time when Twitter’s content and moderation teams have been pared back drastically following Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover of the social media giant.
Twitter, along with other international social media services like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, is blocked by Beijing’s internet censors within Mainland China.
Biden silence on China protests
As citizens across China revolt against the country’s “zero Covid” policy, the White House issued a statement about the growing protests.
“‘We’ve long said everyone has the right to peacefully protest, in the United States and around the world,’ a White House National Security Council spokesperson said in a statement.
‘This includes in the [People’s Republic of China.]’
“‘Zero COVID is not a policy we are pursuing here,’ the spokesperson said.
‘And as we’ve said, we think it’s going to be very difficult for the People’s Republic of China to be able to contain this virus through their zero COVID strategy.’”
Commentators have noted that the statement came from the White House, and not President Biden himself.
Demonstrators are calling on President Joe Biden to take a stance and publicly support their cause.
The protests have continued despite numerous attempts by the Chinese government to quell them.
China protests hit global markets, crypto
The protests in China are having a negative impact on cryptocurrencies and markets around the world.
Bitcoin failed to break its descent and fell more than 3 percent.
The global crypto market cap fell over 2%, sending major cryptos into the red.
Over the last 24 hours, overall crypto market volume grew by 22%.
It comes amid a round of investor nervousness in global markets spurred by protests in China against Covid restrictions.
Protesters outraged by harsh COVID-19 regulations called for China’s strong leader to quit.
China is the world’s second-largest economy and has a significant impact on global financial markets.
Stocks and cryptos aren’t considered safe havens, leading to bearing price action.
Analysts are hoping for a sharp bullish reversal if and when the protests end.
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