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Facebook connection ends trial and possibly sends juror to jail

16 June 2011 BY

A remarkable story in Manchester shows that nothing can be done secretly on Social Networks, or more specifically Facebook, anymore. A female juror will probably be going to jail herself instead of the defendant because she friended the defendant on Facebook.

The juror is now charged with contempt which could mean she could go to jail for a maximum of two years. Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice, seems to be tempted to make a statement that a line has crossed, not only for the juror at trial, but for every juror out there.

Joanne Fraill was a juror on the case against defendant Jamie Sewart, who was charged in a million dollar drug case. Sewart was not convicted but after the trial it came out that Fraill had friended her on Facebook after she was cleared, but the trial wasn’t over then. It was only part one of the trial which was against four people. Sewart actually asked Fraill to put in a word for her friend who was still on trial.

One of the other defendants who was convicted is now appealing on the basis of alleged jury misconduct, referring to the conversation which had taken place.

The 6 million pound trial which had been running for 10 weeks now seems to be useless and the juror might go to jail, based on a Facebook friendship. You would think the juror would have been smarter than that.

AUTHORED BY:
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Bas van den Beld is a speaker, trainer and online marketing strategist. Bas is the founder of Stateofdigital.com. -- You can hire Bas to speak, train or consult.
  • http://www.greatwebsitesblog.com Barry Adams

    Jury trials are nonsensical anyway. The cause of Justice shouldn’t be left to laypeople who are easily manipulated by the media, lawyers, and legalese nonsense. Justice is too important to be left to amateur nincompoops.

  • http://peakwalking.blogspot.com Lee

    Why is this person being sent to jail for merely exercising her basic human rights of freedom of speech and freedom of association? And two years? She could have committed a very serious violent crime and not got this long a sentence.

  • http://www.kathrynwells.net Kathryn Wells

    @Lee She might go to jail because her actions called into question the level of bias that she maintained before and during jury deliberation. That demonstrated bias caused a 6 Million Pound waste of a trial. This is not an issue of human rights. She was explicitly instructed—as I’m sure all jurors are before the proceedings go under way—that she is not to have contact with either defendant or plaintiff during the trial proceedings so as not to affect the trial results.

    • http://peakwalking.blogspot.com Lee

      As a juror, she did not volunteer, she was coerced…any contract not freely entered into is null and void. Therefore it doesn’t matter what the judge says, she’s free to ignore it.

      As for bias; well so what? When you’re tried by your peers, some will be biased and prejudiced, as in society as a whole.

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