Juror Who Contacted Defendant on Facebook Will Go to Jail


Add to the list of things you shouldn’t do as a juror (no flirty note-passing, please, or pulling a Sarah Jessica Parker): You should not contact a defendant in a case in which you are a juror via Facebook. You should also not discuss the jury deliberations with said defendant on said case. You’d think people might guess this, but Joanna Fraill, a 40-year-old juror in the U.K., will have to go to jail for contempt of court in doing those very things. In fairness, she contacted a defendant, Jamie Sewart, 34, who at that point been acquitted in the case; the jury was deliberating charges against others.

According to Bloomberg,

During the conversation Sewart asked Fraill “what’s happening with the other charge,” Garnier said.

Fraill responded: “No-one budging,” while telling Sewart not to mention the message saying she feared a mistrial.

Length of jail-time is yet to be determined; the judge did say, “There are no circumstances to avoid” it. Sewart was also found guilty of contempt but won’t have to serve jail time because she has a young child and already served time for the crime she was acquitted of doing.

Note that this is the first time someone has been punished for contempt related to Internet contact. Modern times. Question is, will Fraill have access to Facebook during her stint in prison?

Juror Facebooks Defendant, May Go to Jail [Bloomberg]