After fourteen days of deliberation and five months of an extraordinary trial, the jurors of the Crown Court (the equivalent of an assize court) in Chester were unable to reach a verdict on all the charges – seven rapes, an attempted rape and a sexual assault on six young women – which targeted Benjamin Mendy in England, and which he denies en bloc. But the Manchester City defender (28), whose legal fate remains uncertain, is partly relieved, after his acquittal of six rapes and a sexual assault. Concerning these six rapes, the verdict of the jurors was rendered unanimously on January 12; a decision that could not be disclosed until now for legal reasons.
For two other charges, a seventh rape and the attempted rape, the jurors could not reach a decision, unanimous or majority. Noting this failure, Judge Steven Everett therefore released them from their mission, at the start of the afternoon, after thanking them for their work, as well as their “incredible patience” and their ” endurance “ during this trial, which was originally supposed to last fifteen weeks, but which therefore ended on Friday. And by reassuring these British citizens drawn by lot, to explain to them that this situation (the “discharge” of the jury) was not “unusual”.
The new trial is expected to last two to three weeks
Due to the absence of a decision on the two pending charges, a new trial is to come and it must be held from June 26, after request of the prosecutor, who has seven days to formalize this request. It should last between two and three weeks. A preliminary hearing for this new trial has been scheduled for January 27.
As for the co-defendant, Louis Saha Matturie (unrelated to former French striker Louis Saha), presented as Benjamin Mendy’s “assistant” and “fixer”, he was also found not guilty of three rape charges. The jury failed to reach a verdict on six other charges – three rapes and three sexual assaults. The two men, who were tried together, now have separate fates: the new trial of Matturie must begin in the second half of September. During his introductory summary, on August 15, at the start of the trial, prosecutor Timothy Cray presented Mendy as a “predator” sexual and Matturie as a tout who would have been tasked with “finding young women and creating situations where they could be raped and sexually assaulted”.
A difficult verdict
On Wednesday, Judge Steven Everett gave the jury, which began deliberating last month, a “majority management”. This means that in the absence of unanimity of the jurors on the entirety of the charges under consideration, they had the possibility of delivering a verdict by majority. In a slightly degraded configuration: this jury had only eleven members out of twelve (one of the jurors – a man – was excused for medical reasons after an operation). And this majority verdict was also difficult to obtain, because it implied that ten out of eleven jurors reached the same decision.
In this context, the seven men and four women who make up the court could not all agree. And faced with this situation, Judge Everett therefore pronounced their release and their return home. While the 2018 world champion, for his part, has not yet finished with British justice.