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Juries confused about internet rules 20/05/2013 New research has revealed that almost a quarter of jurors are confused about the rules on internet use during a trial.

Juries confused about internet rules

New research from University College London has revealed that almost a quarter of jurors are confused about the rules on internet use during a trial.

The study, published in Criminal Law Review, follows a number of cases in recent years involving jurors’ inappropriate use of the internet, which have led to a number of juries being discharged, or trials abandoned. Two cases have resulted in prosecutions and convictions of jurors for contempt.

Led by Professor Cheryl Thomas, the preliminary research reveals that among jurors who misunderstand the rule on internet use, 16% believe they cannot use the internet at all, even to check their own emails, while serving on a jury; five percent believe there is no restriction at all on their use of the internet during a trial; and two percent believe they can look for information about their case during the trial as long as it does not influence their judgment.

“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 of jurors,” said Professor Thomas.
 

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