Juror declared kingpin ‘not guilty, not guilty’ in trial ‘fix’, court hears

Damien Drackley was allegedly promised £5,000 to sway fellow jurors in the Warwick Crown Court case of Leslie Allen (PA) (PA Archive)
Damien Drackley was allegedly promised £5,000 to sway fellow jurors in the Warwick Crown Court case of Leslie Allen (PA) (PA Archive)

A juror attempted to “fix” a drugs kingpin’s trial, declaring he was “not guilty, not guilty” before even discussing the case, a court has heard.

Damien Drackley was allegedly promised £5,000 to sway fellow jurors in the Warwick Crown Court case of Leslie Allen.

It was part of a “concerted attempt” by Allen, 66, to evade justice in 2018 after being caught with £150,000 of cocaine and cannabis, the Old Bailey was told.

While on bail, Allen also allegedly got two witnesses to lie for him, with one of them, nicknamed “Del Boy”, winking at Drackley – Juror One – from the witness box.

But the plot “unravelled” after Drackley’s fellow jurors sent notes to the trial judge, Andrew Lockhart KC, expressing concern, while in retirement, prosecutor Tony Badenoch KC said.

They said Drackley had knowledge of locations in the case and had been defensive about the evidence rather than open-minded, the court heard.

Mr Badenoch said there had been a “running commentary” between the “compromised juror” Drackley, his mother Lorraine Frisby, the defendant Allen, his intermediaries including Mark Walker, and defence witnesses Laurence Hayden – aka Del Boy –  and Daniel Porter.

It was, in short, a fix

Prosecutor Tony Badenoch KC

He added: “It was, in short, a fix.”

Mr Badenoch went on: “Usually, there is a complete bar on the revelation by jurors of that which has gone on in the jury room at the time of deliberations. Jurors are bound by that for life.

“Only in the most exceptional circumstances, of which this is one, can there be any inquiry of events in the jury room.”

Jurors told investigators that Drackley was so committed to his view that he said “not guilty, not guilty”, before they had even begun to discuss the evidence.

They said he put himself forward to be their foreman but received only one “sympathy vote”.

He was described as being “abrupt and disruptive” and set in his view as he tried to persuade others.

And he was said to be “quite vocal and didn’t believe a word of the prosecution”.

On the second day of deliberations, as he realised others may not be persuaded of his view, he completely shut down, crossed his arms, pulled his hood over his head and slumped down in his chair, the court heard.

The jurors noted he had knowledge of the area and a gym featuring in the case, and when challenged about it allegedly said it was “just because he had driven through the area”.

Drackley had failed to notify the court of his knowledge and, when the jury notes were handed over, he became “chatty and overly nice”, the court heard.

Mr Badenoch said: “When Del Boy winked when he came to give evidence, Damien Drackley had actually said to other jurors: ‘Did you see that guy nod at me?’ Other jurors confirmed that they had seen it.

“Why Damien Drackley said that only he knows, but one obvious explanation is that he knew perfectly well others had seen it and thought it might be best to front it up, leave the impression that he was as surprised as them so to speak.”

Drackley also allegedly failed to turn his mobile phone off as he had been told to do, instead keeping it on silent mode, the court heard.

Jurors have been told Allen’s attempts to evade justice ultimately failed and he was sentenced to 13 years in jail.

Drackley, 37, from Nuneaton, Warwickshire; Allen, from Coventry, West Midlands; Walker, 57, from Coventry; and Hayden, 53, from Coventry, have denied conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Frisby, 55, from Birmingham, has admitted the charge and Porter, from Birmingham, has since died, the court was told.

The Old Bailey trial continues.