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The jury in the Bruce Lehrmann trial has been discharged after one juror was found with an academic research paper on sexual assault.

On the first day of the trial, Justice Lucy McCallum said it was vital for a fair hearing that jurors “rely exclusively on the evidence you hear in this courtroom”.

“You must completely put out of your mind anything you think you know about this case or the parties involved,” McCallum told the jury, referencing the significant media attention the case attracted.

Lehrmann, a former Liberal staffer, is accused of raping Brittany Higgins inside Parliament House on 23 March 2019. He has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent.

McCallum said in discharging the jury that she told the jurors at least 17 times not to refer to outside information during the trial. This instruction was delivered in plain simple language and repeated daily.

“It has come to my attention that one of you, contrary to directions, has undertaken research in relation to issues in the case and that material has entered the jury room that ought not to have,” McCallum told the jury on October 27.

“I have heard an explanation and it may be that no harm has been done, but that is not a risk that I can take. In the circumstances, I have discharged that juror and I have to discharge you all.”

The juror’s material was found by a sheriff’s officer during a routine tidy up. The officer accidentally bumped the juror’s document folder causing papers to fall out, the court heard.

After noticing the title page of an academic article, the officer informed the court.

The academic paper was on the unhelpfulness of attempting to quantify the prevalence of false complaints in sexual assault cases. It also included an analysis of the reasons for false complaints and why people are sceptical of true complaints. McCallum said the material could have been used to sway the jury in either direction.

“At the very least, the fact that the paper was located and taken into the jury room by the juror indicates that it may have influenced that juror’s contribution to the jury’s deliberations,” said McCallum.

“The unfairness to both parties is manifest.”

After the jury was discharged, the sheriff’s officers discovered the same juror was in possession of two additional academic articles on sexual assault.

In her remarks, McCallum warned the media that any reporting that prejudices a fair trial for the defendant will be held in contempt of court.

Unlike NSW, jurors in the ACT cannot be punished for conducting outside research. In NSW, jurors can be fined if they “make an inquiry for the purpose of obtaining information about the accused, or any matters relevant to the trial”.

Law Professors Ben Livings and Rick Sarre observed two key dangers to juror’s accessing extraneous material. First, the material is not subject to the rules of admissibility and second, it is not subject to cross examination.

A provisional date for a second trial has been set for 20 February 2023. The matter has been referred to the ACT’s Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold who will determine whether to retry the case.