A MAN who asked fellow jurors to convict the accused in a trial they were presiding over so they could get home for Christmas has been fined.

David McClure was selected to serve as a juror at Paisley Sheriff Court in the trial of a man accused of assaulting his girlfriend.

McClure was said to have gone to court “with the best will in the world” but made a joke that saw him locked up in a cell for five hours and facing jail.

Before they had heard any evidence in the case, McClure said to the other 14 jurors: “Can we not just find him guilty just now and all get home for Christmas?”

A court official overheard the remark and Sheriff Colin Pettigrew was informed, leading to the jury being dismissed and the trial starting again before a new jury.

McClure, 53, was sent to the cells for the day before being found in contempt of court.

Sentence was deferred for McClure, a window cleaner, to be assessed by social workers ahead of sentencing and he returned to the dock yesterday to learn his fate.

Defence solicitor Jonathan Manson said McClure’s actions could be put down to his health.

The lawyer explained: “He suffers from a number of medical difficulties and I think, to a certain extent, that might explain his conduct.

“He made a flippant remark, as a result of which, there were fairly serious consequences.

“He came to court with the best will in the world and then made this comment and found himself down in the cells in the company of other so-called criminals.”

He said McClure suffers from anxiety and depression, had been worried about coming to court to serve on a jury and made the remark out of nervousness after being selected.

He added: “He didn’t intend to cause any inconvenience. He made a very foolish remark and has suffered the consequences.”

Sparing the man jail, Sheriff Colin Pettigrew said: “Your actions caused considerable inconvenience to the court and others.

“The trial had to be abandoned and recommenced with an entirely new jury.

“I recognise you are remorseful and that you recognise your behaviour was wholly unacceptable. For you, at this time, a custodial sentence is not the only appropriate disposal. As it is not the only appropriate disposal it should not be imposed.”

As he ordered McClure to pay a £400 fine he said his comment was “reckless in nature” and had been “an entirely regrettable incident.”

McClure had been due to serve as a juror in a trial that later collapsed.