Woman tried to influence juror over car insurance fraud trial, Leicester court told
A woman who tried to influence a juror in the trial of a man she is thought to have had an affair with has been jailed.
Married mother of two Kuljit Baghria (42) arranged to meet the juror – who had earlier applied for a job with her – and told him that Hooman Jaffari was "completely innocent" of a car insurance fraud.
The juror told the judge the following day and Baghria and Jaffari were arrested.
The pair were found guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and were each jailed for two-and-a-half years on Friday.
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Both had denied any wrongdoing.
Sentencing Baghria at Leicester Crown Court, Judge Mark Rogers, told her she displayed "breathtaking arrogance" in her trial.
He said: "You don't have an ounce of regret or remorse other than for your own personal situation.
"The public must have confidence in the jury system and its robust resistance to pressure."
Judge Rogers said it was a "determined and planned" attempt to influence a juror, whom he praised for his "courageous integrity" in reporting the matter.
He told Baghria, who cried as she was sentenced: "I've no doubt you and Jaffari were deeply involved in each other emotionally and probably sexually."
Baghria was a deputy manager at Warwickshire County Council's interpreting and translation department.
She met Jaffari, a married father of one, who was a Kurdish interpreter, through work.
They are believed to have had an affair, though both deny a sexual relationship, said Stephen Kemp, prosecuting.
In March 2011, a Czech national applied to Warwickshire County Council for work as an interpreter.
He sent Baghria an e-mail in April, saying he was unavailable for interview because he was on jury service at Leicester Crown Court.
By coincidence, he was elected as a juror in Jaffari's trial, which began on April 5 and was due to last several weeks.
On April 7, Baghria, of Turner Close, Warwick, arranged to meet the juror at a hotel under the pretext of a job interview.
When they met she told the juror: "A man called Jaffari is in court who's completely innocent."
The juror told her he was reporting her approach to the judge and she briefly became "nervous," before making out she did not care.
He was taken off the trial, which continued with 11 jurors.
Jaffari, along with six others, was convicted of making false statements about four bogus car crashes to gain insurance money.
Jaffari (38), of Burnaston Road, Saffron Lane, Leicester, who organised the £50,000 scam, was jailed for two-and-a-half years in June last year.
He had been due to be released shortly, before the new sentence.
In mitigation, the court heard that Baghria, who still maintains her innocence, was sacked after being found guilty.
Her barrister, Niall Skinner, said: "It must be that an opportunity arose and an advantage was taken, but it didn't succeed.
"It's a one-off mistake. Prison will crush her. She's a wreck."
Alwyn Jones, for Jaffari, said: "It was an opportunity grasped when it presented itself.
"The trial wasn't aborted as a result of what happened."