Magazine article The Spectator

A Law Unto Themselves

Magazine article The Spectator

A Law Unto Themselves

Article excerpt

Joanne Fraill is probably not the sort of when they helped enshrine the right to trial by jury into English law in the 13th century.

This week she was facing a jail sentence after admitting to contacting via Facebook a defendant in the trial in which she was serving as a juror. Her ramblings - containing lines such as 'Don't worry about that charge, no way it can stay hung for me lol this is 2nd tim init. At least then yer all home n dry' - caused the collapse of a drugs trial last December. Yet the actions of one semi-literate juror, and indeed other jurors who have been caught discussing trials on the internet, ought not to threaten the right to trial by jury, as some senior legal figures have implied this week. Christopher Kinch, the chairman of the Criminal Bar Association call the situation 'a potential timebomb for the jury system'. …

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