The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, has sent a clear message that inappropriate use of the internet by jurors is unacceptable, is contempt of court and will be punished. Whilst the courts have recently had to watch technology distorting the legal landscape, this sentence stands as a firm reminder that the internet cannot penetrate every room in the land.
Facebook has now infiltrated and embedded itself in people’s daily lives. The concept of ‘going online’ has been lost over the past ten years. People just are online. Wherever. Whenever. With a phone in your hand, or pocket, there is no longer a disconnect button. However, the consequences of not logging out can clearly be devastating.
Joanne Fraill has made history and been made an example of. Public money has been spent and wasted. But it is imperative that public confidence in the jury system is not undermined and that jurors take their responsibilities seriously. The legitimacy of our criminal justice system depends on it.