Joanne Frail, the first juror in the history of UK to be found guilty for contempt of court over the Internet, has been sentenced to 8 months in prison.
She was found guilty of reaching out to Jamie Sewart, 34, an acquit in a high-profile drug trial in Manchester, illegally and unethically, while still acting as an active member of the jury trying the case.
Mrs. Fraill, a mother of three, admitted contacting Sewart using Facebook. Apparently, she also carried out an extensive internet research on Gary Knox, a co-defendant, and Sewart’s boyfriend, while the trial was still going on. This violation occurred despite the Judge’s explicit order to the jury members for staying away from the internet when it came to the details of on-going trials.
Mrs. Fraill acknowledged during the trial that she had tried to contact Sewart after seeing "considerable parallels" between their lives.
After the Lord chief justice, Lord Judge, had sentenced her to 8 months in prison, the Juror reportedly shouted in disbelief, "eight months!", placed her head on the table and burst out in tears.
Sewart, who was also found guilty along with Fraill, has been sentenced to two months in jail.