A New Zealand court selected a jury on Monday at the beginning of the trial of a man accused of murdering British backpacker Grace Millane.
Seven women and five men have been selected for the jury that will begin hearing evidence on Wednesday in the High Court in Auckland.
The New Zealand Herald reported that Justice Simon Moore spoke briefly to the jury, telling them to remain uninfluenced by the intense media coverage the case has generated.
"Anything you have seen or heard outside the courtroom has no place in your deliberations and you must consciously put those aside," he said.
Millane, 22, was travelling after finishing university, when she went missing in Auckland in December.
Police found her body soon after in bushland just a few metres from a scenic drive in Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges.
A 27-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to her murder.
His name was suppressed by the court.
The killing shocked New Zealand, where serious crime was once considered relatively rare and its cities and countryside considered safe.
It also sparked intense debate about New Zealand’s record on violence against women.
Thousands of people held candlelight vigils after Millane’s death in a national outpouring of grief.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern summed up the national mood at the time in an emotional news conference.
"There is this overwhelming sense of hurt and shame that this has happened in our country," Ardern said.
Millane had been in New Zealand for less than two weeks when she went missing.
She had been staying at a backpacker hostel in Auckland and had left some of her belongings there.
She was last seen alive on the evening of December 1 and didn’t contact her family the next day, her 22nd birthday, causing them concern.
Her father, David Millane, said last year that before she went missing, his daughter had loved her time in New Zealand judging by the number of pictures and messages she’d sent.
"We all hope that what has happened to Grace will not deter even one person from venturing out into the world and discovering their own overseas experience," he said in a statement.
New Zealand’s judicial system sometimes suppresses the names of people facing charges on the basis that they won’t be able to get fair trials if they are named.
But the Millane case has highlighted the difficulty of courts maintaining secrecy in an age when information is quickly disseminated around the world.
The trial is expected to last about five weeks and Millane’s family would attend, according to New Zealand media reports.
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