January 27th, 2012 by Marie-Claire Clinton
It has been an interesting week in the news for the Court system wrangling with the impact of juror’s behaviour on a fair trial.
Unsurprisingly, the juror who caused a retrial of a case for a serious violence offence was sentenced to 6 months for contempt of Court. Despite the jury being told very clearly by the Judge at the outset not to use the internet to research the defendant, she ignored this and found he had been previously accused of rape, and then told her fellow jurors about this.
Given the very real risk of spending time in jail for ignoring the Court’s instructions, those involved in the Rednapp/Mandaric trial should pay particular heed to the ban on the use of Twitter from inside the Courtroom!
An even more bizarre example of a juror’s contempt of Court was the case of a juror calling in sick when he was actually taking the day off to see a West End show; as a consequence a day of the trial was lost.
Not much harm, you may think, but I can assure you extending a trial by an extra day to make up for the lost one would be very expensive indeed.
As contempt of Court is a very wide concept, the best advice is ….. just do as you are told, dutifully!