The Conrad Black jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict on “one or more counts” after nine days of deliberation today. Case spectators — never mind Lord Black — appear to be growing restless across the internet.

The trial, which has seen the jury deliberate over 42 counts of various offences including tax violation, fraud and racketeering against Lord Black, has inspired both pro and anti-Black on-line groups.

On social networking website Facebook there’s the ‘Conrad Black Fan Club’, founded by a 28-year-old law student from Quebec who’d also helped Black out with two of his books.

The group currently boasts 502 members and displays a message said to be from Black himself expressing his gratification “to see the entire false persecution crumbling”.

The group also has an active discussion board or “wall” where members are able to leave messages of encouragement (anti-Black messages are deleted) for the former Chairman of Hollinger International.

“Anyone who thinks this is a case of rich vs. poor better realise that when the rich are being taken down like this the poor are already lost. Good luck Lord Black – my thoughts and prayers are with you.”
– Jarrod Thalheimer

Another member thought it appropriate to post this message which could almost be passed off as an extract from the Bible.

“For our more Plebian brethren who have come to aid our LORD at his most pressing time, please take a moment to thank HIM for all he has given us. HIS undying spirit in defending the economic spirit which maintains our lives, HIS unimpeachable character in defending those who CREATE wealth, HIS fortitude in suffering those who attack and vilify his concern for his fellow man. Let us all join hands in a group prayer and hope these jurors find the LIGHT and TRUTH in all this hogwash they have been forced to suffer through.”
– Andrew MacGung

Black and three other former executives of Hollinger International face a $US542 million lawsuit.

If found guilty, Black faces up to a reported 101 years in prison and the seizure of his $US35 million Palm Beach mansion.

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Peter Fray
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