Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/13/facebook_juror_on_trial/

Facebooking juror heads for trial

Status: Hoping not to go to prison

By John Oates

Posted in Law, 13th June 2011 11:10 GMT

A juror in a major drugs trial will herself go on trial this week over allegations that she used Facebook to contact a defendant in the case.

Joanne Fraill, 40, is accused of swopping messages with 34-year old Jamie Sewart - who was acquitted in the early stages of the trial.

Sewart is also being charged with contempt for allegations that she contacted Fraill to ask how the jury's deliberations were going.

Fraill is further accused of Googling the case against specific orders from the judge, The Telegraph reports.

The £6m trial is also being challenged by one of the defendants who claims his conviction is unsafe because of the alleged Facebook chats.

The case is the first to explicitly name Facebook. It will be heard by Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, who is expected to issue new guidelines and notices to be shown to juries before trials begin. Juries are already warned not to discuss their case with anyone outside the jury room.

Individual jurors have been thrown off cases before thanks to social networking snafus, but this appears to be the first time contempt proceedings have been brought for use of the site.

Jurors in the US have also come unstuck thanks to Twitter use. ®