Mohamed Noor is facing trial for the murder of Australian life coach Justine Damond. Picture: AFP
Mohamed Noor is facing trial for the murder of Australian life coach Justine Damond. Picture: AFP

Trial over Justine’s death to start next week

OPENING arguments in the murder trial of killer cop Mohamed Noor will take place on Monday, with jury selection scheduled to continue on Friday local time.

Noor shot dead Australian life-coach Justine Ruszczyk Damond when she called 911 for help after reporting that she heard what she thought was a sexual assault behind her home.

Judge Kathryn Quaintance has now dismissed 22 jurors from an initial pool of 75, with many of them leaving because they said they would have trouble being impartial.

 

There will also be a hearing tomorrow on whether graphic imagery from police body cameras taken in the moments after Damond was shot will be shown in open court.

A coalition of US media companies has appealed a ruling from Ms Quaintance to not make some evidence public, including the bodycam footage she said would become "probably one of the most dramatic moments of the trial".

Damond, 40, was barefoot and wearing pyjamas when she was shot in an alley behind her home on July 15, 2017.

"It's a difficult concept to think that somebody who called for help and wasn't armed would be shot," said one juror who was being questioned.

The identities of the jurors have been sealed and they are being referred to by number, in order to shield them from intense public interest in the trial.

"I don't understand how he could feel threatened he was armed and he wasn't," the potential juror said.

Justine Damond.
Justine Damond.

 

Judge Quaintance has been explaining to jurors that under American law, the defence does not need to provide any explanation for Noor's actions, but that the prosecution has to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Noor has never explained why he shot Ms Damond, exercising his right to silence. His defence lawyer Thomas Plunkett has indicated he will argue self defence because Noor felt his life and that of fellow officer Matthew Harrity were at risk when he pulled the trigger of his

service revolver.

Another juror was dismissed on Wednesday when she said she felt "enormous empathy" for Damond and was not sure if she could "wipe clear" all that she had heard from media about her death.

Describing Damond as "a kind nurturing woman looking to better herself and help others", potential juror number 40 was excused from jury duty after telling the court she would need an explanation from Noor for his actions.

Yet another young woman was excused when she told the court that she couldn't understand how a crime had not been committed when "an innocent" Damond had been killed.

The trial is expected to last three to four weeks, with opening arguments expected in coming days.



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