Dando jurors should 'keep open minds'

Members of the Old Bailey jury due to try the man accused of murdering TV presenter Jill Dando were warned today to put anything they may have read or heard about the case in the media out of their minds.

"Reports, however fair, may be misleading," said the trial judge, Mr Justice Gage.

"If sensational, they are even more misleading. You must put out of your minds anything you have heard or read about her death. It is vital you remember this so there can be a fair trial."

The case had attracted a great deal of media attention, he said, adding: "I doubt throughout the United Kingdom there can be many adults - or even children - who have not read about her death or this case."

The judge also warned the jury of five men and seven women not to allow any feelings of prejudice or sympathy about any person of whom they had heard before or during the trial to affect their judgment.

It was their views and recollection of the evidence that counted - not what someone else reported, he told them, adding: "Please remember at all times to keep an open mind about the issues."

The jury was sworn in today and told that the trial is due open on Friday.

The case is expected to last up to eight weeks.

Barry George, 41, from Fulham, west London, denies murdering 37-year-old Miss Dando, who was shot dead on the doorstep of her home in Fulham on April 26 1999.

Prosecuting in the case is senior Treasury counsel Orlando Pownall. Michael Mansfield QC is defending George.

Femail.co.uk will be bringing you up-to-the-minute coverage of the trial in our News Channel.

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