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Juror faces jail over internet research during trial

PUBLISHED: 15:52 05 October 2020 | UPDATED: 15:52 05 October 2020

Norwich Crown Court. Photo: Adrian Judd.

Norwich Crown Court. Photo: Adrian Judd.

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A juror could face jail after he was caught doing his own internet research into blood clotting while serving during a Norwich trial.

Andrew Smith 64, then shared information he discovered from his internet research, which was not part of the trial proceedings, with other jurors, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Smith of Bracondale, Norwich, admitted doing research by a juror during a trial period between February 3 and February 17 this year.

He also pleaded guilty to a second charge of sharing research with other jurors during the trial period.

The charge states that on February 17 this year, being a member of the jury, he contravened the Juries Act 1974 in the process of obtaining that information and that information having not been provided by the court, during a criminal trial at Norwich Crown Court.

Andrew Procter appeared for the prosecution in the case over a link for the short hearing.

Judge Andrew Shaw adjourned the case for pre-sentence reports, but warned Smith that the case crossed the custody threshold.

He warned that all options would be open to the court and said because of it being a sensitive issue he said that Smith would be sentenced by a High Court judge when he was due to visit Norwich Crown Court on November 6.

He granted Smith conditional bail until his sentencing hearing.

The case highlights the growing problem courts face in ensuring jurors do not use the internet to investigate cases by doing their own online research.

Jurors in all criminal trials are always warned about internet research when they are sworn as a juror and told by the trial judge not to search the internet.

They are also warned not to post comments about the trial on social media, websites like Facebook or Twitter, even after the trial has finished.

They are also warned not to discuss the trial with anyone until it has finished, except with other jury members in the jury room.

Even after the trial, jurors are not to talk about what happened in the deliberation room.


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