Dominic Grieve warned over the effect of modern technology on the system of trial by jury.
He mentioned that nobody could nowadays be sure that the decisions of jurors on their verdicts are based on real facts because most of them do believe in the information they find on the Internet which in most of the times turns out to be incorrect and misleading.
The phenomenon called “trial by Google” may damage the principle of open justice as it may easily change the opinions of jurors.
“It should be clear to the defendant, the public, the victim and the prosecution what the evidence in the case is,” said Grieve. “If a jury is exposed to prejudicial material which, for whatever reason, is not before the court, the basis on which the defendant is convicted or acquitted will never be known.”
Grieve also said that the age of the Internet where every person is on one click away from the information he or she needs, ruins the principle due to which any evidence has to be perused on certain rules when it is under consideration.
According to him, jurors are ready to believe in information found on the web and presented out of context.
Another thing he mentioned as important is that the law strictly forbids a case to be researched outside the court. With reference to this status Dominic Grieve said that jurors may be turned into criminals as they search everything in the Internet and do it every day.
However, it is a fact that there are jurors who faced prison sentences because of this.
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