Fri, Nov 23, 2007 - Page 23 News List

Jamaican jurors prepare for verdict on Woolmer death

AFP , KINGSTON

A panel of 11 jurors was preparing to start deliberation on the cause of death of former Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer as coroner Patrick Murphy gave a final summation and instructions.

Murphy outlined on Wednesday the possible verdicts that could be returned as the ending of the inquest appeared near following 26 days of testimony from 57 witnesses. The summation was set to continue yesterday.

Murphy outlined possible causes of death the jurors might consider when analyzing the evidence and testimony that has been presented over the past month.

Natural causes, accidental death, suicide and unlawful killing -- murder or involuntary and voluntary manslaughter -- are among the options that could be returned to produce a final verdict on a case that stunned the cricket world.

Murphy noted that a majority decision upon a cause can be upheld by the court should there be major division among the panel.

Woolmer was found unconscious in his Jamaica hotel room on March 18, a day after Pakistan suffered a humiliating loss to Ireland that eliminated the team from cricket's World Cup.

Woolmer was pronounced dead later at the University of West Indies hospital, but the coroner highlighted suspicious circumstances surrounding the death and that set off a top level investigation by Jamaican police.

Much later, a review of the forensic evidence returned a verdict of death by natural causes, with the controversy and differences in the conclusions leading to the lengthy inquest at the Jamaica Conference Central in Kingston.

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