THE jury in the case of a woman accused of the manslaughter of a former sergent major has been discharged – after a juror fell asleep.

Izabela Dauti, of Bell Road, Andover, has denied the charge following the death of Malcolm Cox in November 2016.

But after just seven hours, of the expected three-week trial at Winchester Crown Court, it was decided today (Tuesday) that the jury should be discharged.

The decision came when the prosecution, defence and even Judge Jane Miller noted that one of the 12 jury members was not concentrating and at one point had fallen asleep after the trial began on Monday.

Speaking to the juror, Judge Miller said: “Not only the fact that you were apparently asleep for the majority of yesterday, we are concerned that you are not able to give this case the attention it deserved.

“We are concerned that you are not paying full attention to this case.”

The elderly juror refuted the claims and told the judge that he had not been asleep but had in fact been closing his eyes.

He protested that he could give the court a summary of the case from what he had heard so far, but Judge Miller said: “We think you are addressing a flippant attitude to the court proceedings”.

She then discharged the juror from not only sitting on Ms Dauti’s case but from sitting on any jury.

Judge Miller explained to the rest of the jury that the court had had to deal with a “tricky situation” and that the dismissed juror had asked his neighbouring members to keep an eye on him yesterday afternoon for fears he may fall asleep.

“From the moment we started, immediately his eyes were closed, and we cannot have someone sitting on this case not listening to it,” she added.

“Because it is a citizen’s right to be tried by 12 people we are going to start again.”

A new jury will be sworn in this afternoon and the trial is set to be opened again by prosecutor Kerry Maylin following the selection.