Jurors should be aware of the new European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruling on the 11th February 2016. It was held that there was no violation of a person's Article 7 human right (no punishment without law) in respect of a conviction for contempt of court as a result of conducting internet research on the criminal case she was trying as a juror.
The Attorney General made an application to the High Court against Theodora Dallas who was a juror in the Barry Medlock trial at Luton Crown Court in July 2010. It was alleged that she conducted internet research about the case and thereafter disclosed the results of that research to her fellow jurors. This caused the trial to collapse. Theodora Dallas was sentenced to six months imprisonment. She appealed her sentence to the Court of Appeal and was unsuccessful and was refused leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. She therefore appealed to the ECtHR, ruling that her Article 7 human right had not been breached.
Jurors should be aware that as a result of the recent ruling, if you are found to be in contempt of court then a custodial sentence is a great possibility!
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.