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Juror locked up after skipping trial to watch Chicago

A teenage juror who halted a trial by pretending he was ill - so he could sneak off to see a stage show in London - has been detained for 14 days, the Judicial Communications Office confirmed today.

Matthew Banks, 19, could now spend Christmas in a young offenders institution after he told officials at Manchester Crown Court he was too poorly to attend the trial he had been considering.

As a result the proceedings were halted for a day and the rest of the jury sent home while Banks went to see Chicago in the West End.

But he was found out and brought before trial Judge Martin Rudland who labelled the university student "frivolous" and ordered he serve two weeks in a YOI as punishment.

The week-long trial later continued in Banks's absence with the remaining 11 jurors reaching a verdict, officials said.

Judge Rudland said he was locking up Banks "with a heavy heart" but added that lying to court officials for such a frivolous reason was a serious offence.

The teenager's mother, Debbie Ennis, 49, from Staffordshire, told the Manchester Evening News the sentence was "ludicrous" and vowed to appeal and have her son home for Christmas.

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