A convicted sexual offender has failed to have an independent lawyer appointed to investigate alleged misconduct by a juror during his trial.

Thomas Hogan Parker was found guilty by a majority verdict in the Whangarei District Court earlier this year on one charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection.

The jury retired at 1.05pm and after coming back to court with two questions, including directions on a majority verdict, delivered their verdict at 6.25pm.

At 8.46pm the same day, Parker's lawyer Arthur Fairley received an email from a jury member.


The juror wrote: "I was the one juror who voted not guilty. I am so shocked by what went on in the jury room towards the day I feel I have no choice but to contact you directly.

"I don't know if I am allowed to contact you or not, so before I go into detail about my concerns could you please let me know if I can or if I should direct my concerns elsewhere."

Mr Fairley did not respond to the email and instead advised the Crown and raised the matter with the trial judge Duncan Harvey the following day.

The judge considered there were no exceptional circumstances that would justify an investigation into the juror's concern. A court registrar was directed to advise the juror that Mr Fairley was unable to respond and there was nothing the court could do.

Parker applied in the Court of Appeal for directions appointing an independent lawyer or a private investigator to look at the possibility of juror misconduct. He accepted if the application was declined, no justifiable ground of appeal would exist.

The Court of Appeal said according to the Evidence Act, jury deliberations were to remain secret except in exceptional circumstances.

The court said the underlying policy was to ensure the finality of verdicts, protect jurors from pressure and to encourage frank discussion in the jury room.

There was nothing to suggest the juror who emailed Mr Fairley was exposed to irrelevant material or there was interference in its deliberation, the court said.