A man accused of attacking an NHS nurse and medical assistant was asked in cells whether or not he wanted to give evidence in his own defence, an Oxford jury heard.
Matias Marquez-Murua, 42, allegedly attacked NHS nurses and a medical assistant in Oxford last September and assaulted a detention officer in July.
With Crown counsel Nigel Ogborne having closed his case, on their return from lunch on Tuesday afternoon, jurors at Oxford Crown Court found themselves faced with an empty dock.
Judge Nigel Daly explained to the 12-member jury that he had gone down to the cells with the prosecutor and a member of the press to read the warning that would normally have been given to the jury.
The passage warns an accused that he may choose to testify. “If you don’t, the jury may hold it against you,” the warning added.
Judge Daly told the jury: ‘He made no intelligible answer. It was very difficult to understand him. It was very difficult to talk to him.
“But I’m afraid I’ve given him enough time to think about all this. His behavior in the cells made it clear to me that he did not wish to testify.
Murua, of no fixed address and who is not legally represented, denies assaulting rescuers and causing actual bodily harm. He was given until this morning to decide whether or not he wanted to give a closing speech in his own defense.
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