Two former jurors were today found guilty of contempt of court for posting comments on Facebook and using Google for research.
Kasim Davey and Joseph Beard, convicted in separate trials, were both sentenced to two months in prison.
Attorney general Dominic Grieve (pictured) brought the case against both men in the High Court. He said: ‘Jurors who use the internet to research a case undermine justice. It creates a risk that the defendant will be convicted or acquitted, not on the evidence, but on unchallenged and untested material discovered by the juror.
‘Equally, the case of Kasim Davey shows that jurors must follow the directions given to them by the trial judge not to discuss the case outside the jury room, including discussions and posts on the internet.’
Davey, 21, posted on Facebook: ‘Wooow I wasn’t expecting to be in a jury deciding a paedophile’s fate, I’ve always wanted to f*** up a paedophile & now I’m in the law.’
Davey had denied contempt, saying he wrote the comment ‘spontaneously’ in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal and had considered the evidence carefully.
Beard, 29, researched extra information on Google about the victims of two men accused of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.
Beard said he was assessing how long the trial would last.
The High Court suggested courts should consider handing jurors a warning notice about contempt and consequences of a breach.
The judgment was handed down by future lord chief justice and president of the Queen's Bench Division Sir John Thomas, and Justice Sweeney. Lord Carlile QC represented Davey and was instructed by Janes solicitors. John Cooper QC and Richard Furlong represented Beard and were instructed by Ledgisters solicitors.