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Jurors evenly split on Buju's fate

Judge rejects lawyer's motion for mistrial

BY PAUL HENRY Observer reporter henryp@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, September 27, 2010 | 9:52 AM    

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TAMPA, Florida — A jury foreman minutes ago told United States judge Jim Moody that they have not been able to reach a verdict in the drug case involving Jamaican Reggae star Buju Banton.

The foreman said the 12-member jury was split evenly.

"I don't know if we will get to a final decision. We don't feel that we will progress, so could you provide further instructions? Since Thursday we have been reviewing evidence, nobody has changed their minds from their original positions," the jury foreman told the court.

Moody then instructed the jurors to take their time in coming to a final decision.

"Be as leisurely as the occasion may require," Moody said.

The judge gave further instructions that none of the jurors should surrender their conscience decision.

Banton's attorney David Markus then filed a motion for a mistrial but Moody rejected the motion.

Banton appeared in court in a white shirt and a cream coloured pants today. His feet were shackled.

The long wait for a verdict has not been going down well with the artiste's supporters who all appeared nervous.

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