Juror admits contempt of court for using Facebook to contact defendant


Juror admits contempt of court for using Facebook to contact defendant

Kathleen Hall

A juror has pleaded guilty to contempt of court after contacting a defendant via Facebook.

Joanne Fraill, who sat on the jury in a 10-week drug trial in Manchester, contacted defendant Jamie Sewart through Facebook. The contact was made after Sewart had already been acquitted, but the jury had still to reach verdicts on other defendants.

Jamie Sewart was also found to have been in contempt of court having asked Joanne Fraill about the jury's deliberations. Both face up to two years in prison.

The court heard the initial contact came after Fraill went on the social networking website and tracked down Sewart, saying: "You should know me - I've cried with you enough," reported the BBC.

Solicitor General Edward Garnier QC told the High Court the contact and discussion breached the judge's repeated directions to the jury and constituted a contempt of court.

Defending Fraill, Peter Wright QC said his client was a woman of completely unblemished character before she "lost her senses" in the Facebook exchanges.

Peter Wright said she only contacted Sewart because she saw in the younger woman's life her own and had become emotionally attached to the defendant as the case progressed.

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