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Juror faces jail for Facebook chat in drugs trial

A juror who allegedly used Facebook to contact one of the defendants in a multi-million-pound drugs trial is to be tried for contempt of court.

Proceedings will begin tomorrow in the High Court in London against Joanne Fraill and one of the defendants in the trial, Jamie Sewart. If convicted, both women could face prison terms.

The drugs trial on which Fraill was serving as a jury member collapsed after 10 weeks due to the allegations, and was one of four prosecutions said to have cost taxpayers £6 million.

Attorney-General Dominic Grieve will claim that, against the orders of the judge, Fraill chatted on the social networking site to Ms Sewart, who had already been acquitted in the case, while verdicts in the other trials were still being discussed.

Sewart, 34, of Bolton, also faces contempt charges after allegedly asking Fraill, 40, of Blackley, Manchester, for details of the jury's deliberations.

A defendant in another of the trials, convicted drug dealer Gary Knox, is appealing against his conviction on the basis of alleged jury misconduct. His case, and that of the two women, will be heard by Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge.