There was a short piece in Monday’s Guardian:
Juror shares trial details on Facebook
“A female juror was dismissed from a trial after posting details of the case on Facebook and asking friends whether they thought the defendants were guilty.
The woman went against strict rules forbidding jurors from discussing cases with family and friends by posting details of the sexual assault and child abduction trial on the social networking site.”
I think a number of issues are quite salient here – firstly it’s the seriousness of the case, I don’t like the connections that the two charges conjure up personally and I think it’s pretty horrible if she was posting this. Especially since the regular media would be working with a child protection restriction due to the age of the victim. Secondly it’s the fact that she was asking for other peoples’ opinions on the case. Think about the ramifications of this – for a few, short hours or days there was a poll on Facebook that actually meant something. This is a very unusual state of affairs indeed.
The next issue is the effect that the additional scale of democracy would have had on the legitimacy of that trial – if 12 peers is enough to convict a person of a crime, then what does 100 votes on the matter mean?
While it’s clear that there is no way that the people from Facebook would have had the information required to make any sort of reasoned judgement it’s an interesting thought – benches of 5 judges produce more persuasive case law that judges sitting alone, does this extend to juries too?
Facebook, Jurors and the Veil (Law Actually)