JURORS have been told to put emotions aside when they decide if a mother-of-four killed two children in an arson attack 17 years ago.
Justice Robin Spencer yesterday began summing up at Oxford Crown Court in the double murder trial of Fiaz Munshi.
The 38-year-old denies murdering Anum Khan, eight, and her brother Majid, 15, in a house fire in Magdalen Road, Oxford, in 1997.
Mr Justice Spencer firstly asked the jury to try to remember what they were doing in August 1997.
He said: “Just a few days later the world was mourning the death of Princess Diana. For the Khan Akhtar family here in Oxford the family were mourning their own tragedy.”
Giving the jury legal directions he said they should convict Munshi of the murders only if they were sure she intended to kill or cause serious harm to anyone in the house.
He also said Munshi would be guilty if the jury found she knew about the plan to burn the house down and encouraged others to do it.
But he said jurors could convict Munshi of manslaughter if they found she unlawfully caused the death of the siblings, intended to cause bodily harm, or realised there was a risk someone would suffer some bodily harm.
But he warned jurors to leave emotion out of their decision making.
He said: “In a case as harrowing as this there is a danger of influence by sympathy. You must put aside all feelings of sympathy and empathy in this case.”
The judge is expected to finish summing-up the case today.
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