Convicted flood fraudster believes juror broke rules
A GRANTHAM grandmother who was jailed for flood fraud has appealed her conviction because a jury member told his wife he felt "pressured" over the case.
Christine Margaret Blackmore was jailed in October last year after being found guilty of dishonestly obtaining $142,763 from the Premier's disaster relief fund.
The court found Blackmore had made false claims in her flood assistance application resulting in her receiving more money than she was entitled to.
But before she was sentenced to three and a half years jail after her trial, Blackmore told the court she did not intend to defraud the system and was "surprised" when she received so much from the fund.
The Queensland Court of Appeal on Monday heard Blackmore believed the verdict was unreasonable as a jury member had breached the Jury Act.
The court heard that after the jury had retired to deliberate during the trial, a male juror began acting "aggressively and abusively".
After the jury was allowed home for the night that man told his wife he was feeling "distressed" and "pressured".
Blackmore's appeal barrister Elizabeth Wilson told the court it was unclear what else the juror had told his wife about the jury's deliberations.
Ms Wilson said the trial court had not properly considered whether the communication was inappropriate.
"Whilst there was talk of internal rumblings in the jury room ... it appears no one really appreciated the significance of this. Of the contravention," she said.
"The whole process has gone awry."
But Justice Margaret McMurdo said if the man was having health problems, including mental health, and felt he needed to see a doctor there was no breach of the act.
"Why wasn't the judge allowed to infer if the juror was unwell? Mentally unwell I mean," she said.
"I just feel in all of this we must look after a juror's health."
The juror was later dismissed for health reasons and the remaining jurors made a majority decision to convict Blackmore.
The court will deliver its decision at a later date.