Juror jailed for Facebook contempt

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 16, 2011 6:03 AM
Juror jailed for Facebook contempt

LONDON (Reuters) - A juror who contacted a defendant through the Facebook social networking website, causing a multi-million pound trial to collapse, was jailed for eight months on Thursday.

Joanne Fraill, 40, admitted at London's High Court to using Facebook to exchange messages with Jamie Sewart, 34, a female defendant who had been acquitted in an ongoing drug trial in Manchester last year.

Fraill, from Manchester, also admitted conducting an internet search into Sewart's boyfriend, Gary Knox, a co-defendant, while the jury was still deliberating.

Sewart was given a two-month sentence suspended for two years after being found guilty of contempt, the Press Association reported.

Taxpayers were left picking up a bill of 6 million pounds ($10 million) after the judge was forced to discharge the jury in the original trial.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison)