Many Jurors Confused by Contempt Rules Regarding Internet Use

According to a recent report, about 16 percent of the asked jurors think they were not supposed to go online at all whilst serving on a jury. By the way, mentioning Internet usage related to work, do you have a Computer, Email and Internet policy?

Professor Cheryl Thomas from the University College London (UCL) Faculty of Laws carried out the research believing it would help giving evidence of understanding of the rules of contempt among the jurors in England and Wales. The questioned ones were juries from Crown Courts.

About five percent of the asked people shared that in their opinion there were no restrictions on the Internet sites they may open while on a trial and two percent said they thought they could use Internet only in order to get some information connected to the current case.

Only one percent shared they used the Internet in order to find information about the convicted ones or some of the other people involved in the crime. Some even mentioned they searched at Streetview because they wanted to see the exact location of the place where the crime had happened.

Professor Thomas said: “These findings show that the vast majority of jurors understand and follow the rules on how jurors can use new media during trial, but the message is not getting through and is confusing to a significant minority.”

In his opinion, this research could be helpful to juries from the whole country, as most of the respondents had approved it.

On the other hand, 82 per cent of them shared that they needed more information on how to lead their deliberations.