Facebook Contempt Case
June 17, 2011 by staff
Facebook Contempt Case, Joanne Fraill, the first juror to be prosecuted for contempt of court for using the Internet has been jailed for eight months. Fraill, 40, admitted in the Supreme Court of London using Facebook to exchange messages with Jamie Sewart, 34, a defendant acquitted in a trial course of drugs to several million pounds in Manchester last year. Fraill of Blackley, Manchester, also admitted conducting a search on the Internet at Sewart boyfriend, Gary Knox, one of the defendants, while the jury was still deliberating.
Sewart was sentenced to two months imprisonment for two years after being found guilty of contempt.
The Attorney General Dominic Grieve in the first case of its kind charged both women with contempt. The ten-week trial of drugs in Manchester Crown Court last August involved multiple charges and defendants and was one of a series of four trials estimated cost of £ 6,000,000.
It was the third attempt was nearing its conclusion that it showed the two women had been in communication.
Sewart, mother of two from Bolton, had already been acquitted of conspiracy to supply drugs when Fraill looked her up on Facebook, but the jury was still deliberating its verdict for three of her codefendants.
Peter Wright QC, for Fraill said he had felt a certain empathy with Sewart and wanted to express her “cathartic release” in the result, which meant he was released from jail after 14 months on remand.
She created a profile with the name of Jo Caritas, but her own photograph was clearly visible. Sewart admitted he thought was a juror, but I do not think she was doing anything wrong.
Fraill first message read: “You must know me, I cried with enough”, referring to the emotions displayed by the jury during the trial.
During the course of the conversation, Sewart said: “What about the other charge?”
Fraill replied: “I can not get to go either move a pleeeeee anywaone not say nothing because they could call the view jamie and I 4cked mmiss to0.
Ten minutes later he added: “Do not worry about that any way chge may hang for me lol.”
The discussions also revealed that the two women had been communicating in court with “nods and winks”.
The next day, Sewart said her attorney about the conversation and her equipment was confiscated.
When confronted, admitted Fraill immediately contacted the accused and reveal details about the case. He also admitted conducting Internet research Sewart boyfriend Gary Knox, one of the defendants.
The case was dropped and then a fourth trial was conducted to address the three remaining defendants.
That trial ended in December, but an order was made preventing the details published to the contempt proceeding is brought against Fraill and Sewart.
Knox, 35, a convicted drug dealer was jailed for six years after being convicted of bribing a police officer. He has since challenged the conviction on the basis of jury misconduct, because the conversation on Facebook.
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