Friday, 13 December 2013

Off-Topic: Brian Farmer Murder Trial (Verdict)

Day 20 -- December 12, 2013

The jury was called back by the judge after three days of deliberation (since Monday afternoon). The foreman said they had reached unanimous verdicts on three of the defendants, but couldn't reach a decision on the fourth defendant. The judge told the jury he would accept a majority decision of at least 10 jurors and sent them away again. This was the impulse they needed. An hour later the jury announced they had reached their verdicts.

Jason Andrews: Guilty of murder.

Lisa Clarke: Guilty of murder.

Vaughan Davies: Guilty of murder.

Peter Knowles: Not guilty of murder. Guilty of manslaughter (by an 11-1 decision).

At 2pm the judge allowed the defence lawyers to present their mitigation speeches before he passed sentence. I was quite shocked to hear that the lawyers, on the whole, didn't seem to understand what mitigation is. Vaughan's lawyer pleaded mitigating circumstances on the basis of his age, which was justified. The other lawyers were making statements such as "the jury must have got it wrong, he couldn't possibly have been there all the time", as if begging the judge to ignore the jury's verdict. I was surprised the judge didn't interrupt the speech and tell the lawyer to stick to mitigation. Miss Montgomery asked the judge to interpret the jury's verdict for Lisa Clarke, since there was no evidence that she had taken part in the fatal attack. Once more, this was a callous dismissal of the jury's competence, which should have been openly criticised. A valid mitigating argument brought several times was that it wasn't a premeditated attack, it was just a drunken brawl that got out of hand. The judge replied to this, saying that it might not have been premeditated when it began, but if an attack including excessive brutality lasts for two hours, remaining for the whole attack indicates an intention to continue which can be classified as a premeditation to kill.

The sentences were:

Jason Andrews: Life. Possibility of parole after 27 years.

Lisa Clarke: Life. Possibility of parole after 23 years.

Vaughan Davies: Life. Possibility of parole after 14 years.

Peter Knowles: 14 Years. 7 years in prison, 7 years probation.

Lisa Clarke, the ringleader
Jason Andrews

Vaughan Davies
Peter Knowles

Of course, the sentencing doesn't give us all the answers. We still don't know why Brian Farmer was killed. Apart from the random lies told in the witness box we can only guess. The only thing we know with any certainty is that it was Lisa Clarke's plan to kill Brian, and she invited her friends to his flat to commit the act. Her "best friend" John Campion, who chose to leave before the worst violence began, might know the reason, but he isn't talking.

This is a summary of my trial reports:


  1. What was the reaction from the accused, given they all pleaded not guilty? And as you said lies they told in the witness box

    1. That's a good question. I was watching the defendants while the sentences were announced. I suspect something happened with Jason Andrews between the guilty verdict and the sentence. Instead of the usual one-guard-per-person, he was surrounded by three security guards for the sentencing. He had the appearance of being heavily drugged, so he "wasn't all there" and didn't show much of a reaction.

      Lisa Clarke remained very cold and defiant. It was as if she wanted to let everyone know she didn't care.

      Vaughan Davies broke down and cried when the sentence was pronounced. I'm sure his lawyer had promised him that as a child (17) he would receive a lighter sentence, but it wasn't as light as he expected.

      Peter Knowles was obviously hit hard by the sentence. His face was quivering, but he tried not to show it.

  2. Very interesting, given your blogs I don't understand why pk did not take the witness stand? I think the fact lisa and jason showned little reaction was that they must have expected what was coming, maybe vaughan due to his age was hoping that he wud get a lighter sentence!

    1. To be honest, I was surprised that the jury found Peter Knowles guilty of manslaughter. The problem was that he didn't testify. He was a fool not to enter the witness box. His silence in court was interpreted as an admission of guilt.

  3. May brians family finally be able to see some justice, even thought the 'why' remains unansered!


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