Drama at Sheffield court as doctor rushes from witness box to help collapsed juror

A hospital consultant giving expert evidence in a trial at Sheffield Crown Court sprang to the aid of a juror who collapsed with an apparent seizure.

By Robert Cumber
Saturday, 7th August 2021, 7:14 am
Updated Saturday, 7th August 2021, 7:14 am

Dr Julian Brown was praised by Judge Jeremy Richardson QC for his actions but the the trial almost had to be halted when defence lawyers argued it might bias the remaining jurors in favour of his evidence.

Consultant anaesthetist Dr Brown, of Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, was giving expert evidence in the trial of Hossam Metwally – a Grimsby-based hospital doctor who was found guilty on Thursday of injecting his partner with drugs during exorcism rituals.

As he was giving evidence for the prosecution in July, a woman in the jury suddenly fell from her chair to the floor and was clearly very ill.

The doctor was giving evidence as an expert witness when a juror collapsed at Sheffield Crown Court

Dr Brown immediately left the witness box to give assistance and shouted “call an ambulance”.

Once the drama had subsided and paramedics had taken the juror to hospital, defence counsel Matthew McDonagh asked the judge to discharge the entire jury and start the trial again.

Mr McDonagh argued that part of the prosecution case against Metwally was that he had failed to immediately summon paramedics when his partner was taken ill.

He said that his client had argued that paramedics were not necessary as he was an experienced doctor and could deal with the situation himself.

But Mr McDonagh said the jury had seen that the first thing an acknowledged expert had done in an emergency situation was to ask for an ambulance to be called.

Judge Richardson said it was “a very unusual concatenation of events” which left him with a “difficult exercise of judgment”.

But he eventually allowed the trial to continue.

The judge said it was “stretching credulity” that the jury would put Dr Brown’s evidence “on a pedestal” due to his heroics.

Judge Richardson said: “All the witness did was act professionally and compassionately.”

After discharging the stricken juror from the panel, Judge Richardson reminded the remaining 11 jurors that they should try the case only on the evidence they hear in court.

A further juror was discharged later in the trial for Covid-related reasons.

The incident could not be reported until a reporting restriction was lifted on Friday.