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Jurors Who Search Web During Cases Could Be Jailed Under New Proposals

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http://www.theguardian.com/law/2013/dec/09/jurors-search-web-jailed-proposals

Jurors should face up to two years in prison if they search the internet for information about cases beyond what is revealed in court, the Law Commission has recommended.

Judges should also be given powers to remove jurors' mobile phones, and all internet-enabled devices must be confiscated during jury room deliberations, according to the commission's proposals for reforming contempt of court regulations.

The attorney general, the report suggests, ought to take on responsibility for ordering the media to remove previously published stories from websites if they are deemed to jeopardise a fair trial.

The imposition of strict criminal liabilities on jurors, the Law Commission argues, has become necessary owing to the advent of the internet and the immediate availability online of information published and stored on sites across the world.

Launching the report, Professor David Ormerod QC, the commissioner leading the review, explained that he was trying to balance defendants' right to a fair trial, the interests of jurors and public confidence in the administration of justice.

So a lawyer wants to create more criminals?

Why is this only a problem now? Surely taking this to it's logical conclusion any juror should be denied internet access whilst on juror service, so there home internet should be cut as well and all computers, tablets etc... confiscated and whilst they are in the hands of the authority all hard drives should be scanned for illegal activity.

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So a lawyer wants to create more criminals?

If you were on trial for an offence yourself - especially a highly publicised and emotive one, e.g. kiddie fiddling - would you want to be tried on the basis of evidence presented in court, or what wack jobs and trolls have written online?

It's a very difficult problem. You could require jurors to hand in their mobiles before entering the courtroom (and personally I think this should happen, not least because if they're faffing about with Facebook, they're unlikely to be paying attention to the proceedings), but as you point out they can still go online in the evenings.

Nor can you regulate the Internet using the sub judice regulations that are applied to the press and broadcast media, because that regulation could not be applied to sites hosted from outside the UK.

About the only thing you can do, I guess, is for judges to make it very clear to juries that they must base their decisions on evidence and argument presented in court, and that alone.

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About the only thing you can do, I guess, is for judges to make it very clear to juries that they must base their decisions on evidence and argument presented in court, and that alone.

Realistically, that is the most pragmatic option.

I do, however, worry about it a bit. I know a number of experts in various fields. One was summoned for jury service, and there was a lot of evidence given by a series of experts for the prosecution. However, he knew from his expertise and training that a lot of their arguments were completely specious. (Just to clarify, he was an expert in statistics, and the various expert scientists were completely misrepresenting the statistics and making numerous egregious errors, that effectively undermined their entire testimony).

What happens if you are a juror and have genuine concerns that a witness is simply wrong? When my colleague raised the issue with the judge, the judge basically told him to shut his trap, and act dumb, or he will be locked up for contempt.

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Realistically, that is the most pragmatic option.

I do, however, worry about it a bit. I know a number of experts in various fields. One was summoned for jury service, and there was a lot of evidence given by a series of experts for the prosecution. However, he knew from his expertise and training that a lot of their arguments were completely specious. (Just to clarify, he was an expert in statistics, and the various expert scientists were completely misrepresenting the statistics and making numerous egregious errors, that effectively undermined their entire testimony).

What happens if you are a juror and have genuine concerns that a witness is simply wrong? When my colleague raised the issue with the judge, the judge basically told him to shut his trap, and act dumb, or he will be locked up for contempt.

The understanding by a jury of the methods - and their limitations - behind molecular 'DNA' evidence, and the presentation of the statistical analysis, concerns me in particular - speaking as a molecular biologist.

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What happens if you are a juror and have genuine concerns that a witness is simply wrong? When my colleague raised the issue with the judge, the judge basically told him to shut his trap, and act dumb, or he will be locked up for contempt.

The power of the judiciary...

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What happens if you are a juror and have genuine concerns that a witness is simply wrong? When my colleague raised the issue with the judge, the judge basically told him to shut his trap, and act dumb, or he will be locked up for contempt.

can't imagine what your friend must have said to get a response like that.

the job of a juror is surely to evaluate witnesses, expert or otherwise.

where you are likely to get into bother is telling the judge that he's wrong.

eg. when he tells you that you must reach a verdict in line with the Law.

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It's a very difficult problem. You could require jurors to hand in their mobiles before entering the courtroom (and personally I think this should happen, not least because if they're faffing about with Facebook, they're unlikely to be paying attention to the proceedings), but as you point out they can still go online in the evenings.

I`ve just done Jury Service and anyone who tried to use a phone in the court would instantly be called out - you all sit next to one another and you can see what the others are doing.

Once you have heard all the evidence your phone is taken away and you are locked in the Deliberation room until you reach a verdict.

As a side note, the Judge and all the staff were excellent - didn`t even need my nicotine patches as we were given numerous fag breaks out the back (Supervised by the Usher).

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Realistically, that is the most pragmatic option.

I do, however, worry about it a bit. I know a number of experts in various fields. One was summoned for jury service, and there was a lot of evidence given by a series of experts for the prosecution. However, he knew from his expertise and training that a lot of their arguments were completely specious. (Just to clarify, he was an expert in statistics, and the various expert scientists were completely misrepresenting the statistics and making numerous egregious errors, that effectively undermined their entire testimony).

What happens if you are a juror and have genuine concerns that a witness is simply wrong? When my colleague raised the issue with the judge, the judge basically told him to shut his trap, and act dumb, or he will be locked up for contempt.

The Judiciary is the heart of corruption in the UK. I have nothing but contempt for the overpaid Liars and their sick games with peoples lives.

The tragic thing is that they have the power to enforce their little game on the rest of us. And (unlike other authorities like police and politicians) are not accountable to anyone: indeed, judicial immunity sets them quite literally above the law.

If you're a juror, it's illegal to inform yourself, as any conscientious person would want to do (and as Rumpole always did - it's the detective work that makes his stories). You're only allowed to consider the performances by the grossly overpaid Liars, and the chances are the most convincing one is the one acting for the biggest crook. The only thing you can do without a high risk of becoming complicit in a travesty of justice is to refuse to play.

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