Birmingham Benefits Street Drugs Trial Discharged
18 May 2015, 15:11
Residents of TV's Benefits Street are facing a retrial over allegations they intended to supply crack cocaine after the jury in the current case against them was discharged.
Samora Roberts, who was known on the programme as "Black Dee'', denies possession of heroin and two other counts of possession of crack cocaine with intent to supply.
The 33-year-old has also pleaded not guilty to two counts of illegally having ammunition, after police raided her home and several other addresses in James Turner Street in June 2013.
Roberts was part-way through a trial alongside five others at Birmingham Crown Court over charges of conspiracy to supply crack cocaine, heroin and cannabis.
However, the jury was today discharged and a retrial ordered after the Crown successfully applied to have several lesser charges put against the co-accused.
Judge Philip Parker QC thanked jury members for their service, telling them he was discharging them because "there are remaining issues to be tried''.
He added: "There's an old maxim: justice not only has to be done, but seen to be done.''
Tina Thomas, 47, who is Roberts' neighbour, denies a charge of possession of ammunition.
Omari George, 22, now of Dora Road in Handsworth, has denied having crack cocaine with intent to supply to another.
A fourth defendant, 38-year-old Marvin Scott, of City Road, Edgbaston, denies having crack cocaine with intent to supply and a separate charge of possession of cannabis.
The offences are all alleged to have happened between May and June of 2013.
Meanwhile, Ian Wright, also of James Turner Street, was told he was free to go after the Crown offered no evidence against the 39-year-old.
Another resident of the street, 31-year-old Charlene Wilson, pleaded guilty to two charges of having crack cocaine with intent to supply and another count of possession of cannabis with intent to supply. She will be sentenced at the end of July.
At the start of the trial earlier this month, jurors had been selected from those who had never watched the Channel 4 reality TV show, which focused on the day-to-day lives of the street's residents and aired in January last year.
The new trial involving Roberts, Thomas, George and Scott will take place back at the city's crown court on November 9.