The jury at the centre of the William Roache trial has reacted angrily to the direction of the trial Judge that they have to decide on the guilt or innocence of Mr. Roache rather than his fictional counterpart, Ken Barlow.
The Judge's comments sparked uproar in Manchester Crown Court yesterday, and the jury had to be restrained by Court officials from storming out of the Courtroom. Amid shouts of, "Justice for Deirdre!" and "That monster is the reason why Tracy turned out the way she did!", the Court eventually agreed to take submissions from both Defence and Prosecuting Counsel as to whether the Defendant should properly be William Roache or Ken Barlow, with the Judge expected to make a ruling on the issue later in the week.
If the prosecution against Ken Barlow ultimately proves successful, legal experts have warned that it could set a precedent for the prosecution of fictional characters. Police are reported to be awaiting the outcome of the case with interest, as they continue their investigation into the alleged murder of media tycoon, Charles Augustus Magnussen, by a Mr. B. Cumberbatch, of Baker Street in London.
The Justice Secretary has, however, given a warm welcome to the jury's insistence that the trial be of Ken Barlow rather than Mr. Roache. "The fact that twelve random, ordinary people off the street can make a difference like this just reinforces our confidence in the criminal justice system. When the members of a jury which decides on the future of a man's life are so outrageously stupid that they have to be told the difference between soap operas and reality, then you just know that Britain has the best justice system in the world", he said. "Besides, Roache deserves to be on trial. I'm still not convinced that he wasn't responsible for Mike Baldwin's death after uncovering his affair with Deirdre."