February 5, 2011 By

Judges Who Research Cases Online To Face Jail

7_1Jurors who research cases on the internet will face up to two years in prison under a new offence. The law was unveiled by the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling as part of a new Criminal Justice and Courts Bill and has been prompted by the concern that modern technology is posing an increasing threat to the fairness of trials.

According to the new law, it will be illegal to share website information with fellow jurors or to decide a case on the basis of information not heard in court. Posting of messages about the cases on social media sites or engaging in any other conduct prohibited by the law is also now unlawful. Jurors who break the rules can currently be jailed for contempt of court.

There have been instances in which jurors have caused trials to collapse by researching details online or by contacting defendants via social media sites. Research has also found evidence of jurors using sites such as Google Earth to see the crime scenes.

“Technology and the wealth of information available to us all at the touch of a button have changed the way we live. We have considered the impact this has on our laws and will make the necessary changes”, Grayling said.

There would be a mandatory life sentence for the terrorists convicted of a second “very serious” offence.

There will be a clampdown on cautions which will prohibit their use for crimes including rape and robbery and stop criminals receiving more than one caution in a two-year period for the same offence.


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