back to article Facebooking juror gets 8 months

Joanne Fraill, the juror who admitted contacting an acquitted defendant during a drugs trial, has been sentenced to eight months in prison. The 40-year-old was a juror in a drugs trial when she contacted Jamie Sewart, who had been acquitted earlier in the trial. Sewart got two months, suspended for two years for contempt of …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If ignorance is no defence of the law, I fail to see how having a young child is a mitigating factor.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      She had been ...

      ... held on remand before being acquitted. The judge took that into account.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      What ignorance?

      Some of the messages implied that she was _NOT_ ignorant.

      So frankly, she should have been given the full throttle with little or no leniency applied.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: young child


      If ignorance is no defence of the law, I fail to see how having a young child is a mitigating factor.


      I'd usually agree with you, but the defendent had already served time on remand for a crime she was found innocent of, so common sense says not to seperate her from her kid again.

      1. Charles Manning

        Not found innocent

        Found not guilty. There is a huge difference.

        People are routinely found not guilty even though all the jury members thing they are guilty. Finding someone guilty requires the test of "beyond reasonable doubt". Thus even if the jury thinks they are likely guilty, but there is some doubt, the person can be found not guilty.

        This is a nice little clause that defence lawyers often use. Muddy the water, create some doubt and befuddle the jury.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      The wisdom being

      Better to not imprison the woman les the child suffer for it. Hence a suspended rather than reduced sentence.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        The real wisdom is

        Do you want to meet a child "raised" by a woman with these principles in your later life?

        I do not.

        There are enough c**ts without principles around as it is.

        That is one case where social services are definitely a better option.

  2. James Hughes 1

    "It's shocking that people are just so stupid."

    Comment from another article, but still relevent!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Even More Shocking

      And even more shocking that it is even possible for someone that stupid to be put in a position to determine another humans fate

      1. Stuart 22

        You don't get the point about juries

        Even judges can be pretty stupid at times. That's the point of a jury. Its a collection of reasonably random people some of whom may be very stupid but will be ignored/converted/outvoted by the majority.

        Studies show that juries, on the whole, usually get things right and in this area are probably more reliable than any other method of determining guilt.

        Unless you want to revert to the witch test of course ...

        1. david wilson

          @Stuart 22

          >>"Even judges can be pretty stupid at times. That's the point of a jury. Its a collection of reasonably random people some of whom may be very stupid but will be ignored/converted/outvoted by the majority.

          Even judges can be pretty stupid at times. That's the point of a jury. Its a collection of reasonably random people some of whom may be very stupid but will be ignored/converted/outvoted by the majority."

          So you're basing a judgement on the quality of juries on juries which generally operate within a fairly definite set of restrictions.

          Would you be as confident about the quality of judgements if there were a free-for-all about what jury members could do in terms of research, contacting defendants and/or witnesses, etc?

          Since that seems to be pretty much the whole point.

          For a start, that'd frequently end up with people being judged at least partially on the basis of past convictions or accusations or gossip, where such information was on the internet, and some of the time, with people being judged partly on the basis of convictions/accusations/gossip against people who just happened to have the same or a similar name.

          Surely, one of the key points of a criminal trial is that the evidence that a jury bases their verdict on is should be a matter of record, and therefore open to future review?

          In a case that isn't open-and-shut, if a guilty verdict results partly from people doing their own private research (which they may well screw up, especially if they're not very bright), how can someone challenge the verdict if there's nothing actually flawed in the evidence that was presented in court and recorded?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Studies show that juries, on the whole, usually get things right

          What, you mean when checked by the guy who has the list of who really really did it, and who really really didn't?

        3. Charles Manning

          "Studies show that juries, on the whole, usually get things right"

          What studies?

          Seems to me that it is pretty much impossible to know if the jury got it right.

          The real problem with a jury is that they are easily misdirected.

          If I was ever to be tried, I'd rather it be by someone that actually understands the law rather than the random sweepings from the street.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      New meme?

      I wonder how many times this quote will be wheeled out...

      1. Thomas 4
        IT Angle


        They can't find me, I'm on the internetz!

        1. Dan 10
          Thumb Up

          Best comment


    3. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Number6


        Apart from the dodgy stuff going on in family courts where the state uses secrecy to protect its abuses, trials tend to have a public gallery where people are free to go and observe.

        It's still not a good idea for a juror to discuss anything about a case while it's in progress, but once the trial is concluded, commenting on the public bits (but not on any jury discussions of those bits) doesn't seem unreasonable.

        Many people are nervous of doing jury service, so it would be better if jurors are able to discuss the overall experience, if not the specific cases.

        1. david wilson


          >>"Many people are nervous of doing jury service, so it would be better if jurors are able to discuss the overall experience, if not the specific cases."

          I thought that in the UK jurors *could* talk about the general experience?

          I'm sure I heard some people doing just that on the radio a few months ago.

    4. Gannon (J.) Dick

      Average Shocking

      “Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!”

      -- George Carlin

  3. Anonymous Coward

    The stupid, illiterate inbred skanker

    Got what she deserved. It's a real shame there isn't a moron filter on jury trials, then there might be some hope that justice will be done, hush-puppy-wearing hippy liberal justice ministers notwithstanding.

    Anon, till I've calmed down.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      What do you expect ?

      It's supposed to be "justice of the PEOPLE".

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Once upon a time it was defined as a "jury of your peers"

      With all due respect, I fail to see what qualifies this lady to be _MY_ peer.

      As far as being a peer of the accused... Well... Maybe...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Joanna FAIL...!

  5. Horridbloke
    Thumb Up

    Horridbloke likes this


  6. !phil!
    Thumb Down

    dont make me laugh

    I've been on jury duty 3 times now and I'm amazed at the depth and number of morons that get to decide these cases. The system is flawed, most people with a bit of brains will do anything to get out of jury services, be that cause there company wont pay them or because its such a huge ball ache. Whereas the morons and lay abouts of the world love the jury summons, while I was there on my first experience we had 2 jurors refuse to give opinions or decide anything, was the evidence not so good? was there some legal issue? no. one decided she wasnt going to have anything to do with it because 'the police are shit' a statement I fully agree with but hardly related and the other one, bless her, refused to get involved as her son was the same age as the 'defendant' and could never have done the things hes accused of, seriously I shit you not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Errrr ...

      Are you supposed to be talking about this?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      deja vu

      That sounds so similar to my experience it makes me wonder if we were on the same jury.

      I did my jury duty late 70s/early 80s and there where 2 people with similar attitudes. One of them wouldn't find anybody guilty just in case she got it wrong and the other because one of the defendants was a boxer and her brother was a boxer therefore the defendant couldn't be guilty!

      I am continuously surprised that anybody is ever found guilty in a jury trial

    3. Jolyon


      "most people with a bit of brains will do anything to get out of jury service"

      Not sure I'd want my fate to be in the hands of a bunch of self-serving arseholes like that, however clever they might be.

      1. Ian Chard

        Re: Brains

        > > most people with a bit of brains will do anything to get out of jury service"

        > Not sure I'd want my fate to be in the hands of a bunch of self-serving arseholes like that, however clever they might be.

        Absolutely. Serving on a jury is a civic duty, and 'getting out of it' is simply selfish and anti-social. Equally so is watching your fellow jurors ignore or abuse the process without informing the judge.

        1. Graham Marsden
          Thumb Down

          @Ian Chard

          'Serving on a jury is a civic duty, and 'getting out of it' is simply selfish and anti-social."

          And what if, like me, you run a one-man business? Who is going to take the orders, answer the phone, make products and post them out whilst I'm sitting in a Jury Room?

          I have had to decline the opportunity to do Jury Service twice because I simply *cannot afford* to do it.

        2. Anonymous Coward

          I don't need no stinking title

          I never signed any contract of loyalty & I never verbally agreed to any loyalty to this country, its policies or its laws.

          I had UK citizenship forced upon me & I cant surrender it without hamstringing myself & preventing myself from being able to work or leave the country (and be able to come back)

          I see no reason why I should sit on any jury

          All summons should be returned to sender with the folllowing on the envelope 'No such entity & no such contract'

          1. Anonymous Coward

            unpleasant oik

            What an offensive little oik.

            I wonder how many benefits of UK citizenship you reject along with your obligations. Have you ever, or do you ever intend to, used any public services of any sort in the country with which you feel you have 'no such contract'?

            If you don't agree with this country's 'policies or laws', then perhaps you should do something about it - exercising you rights as a citizen, or you should go find a country that you do agree with.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        Self serving

        > Not sure I'd want my fate to be in the hands of a bunch of self-serving arseholes like that, however clever they might be.

        If you were the victim then you would certainly want "a bunch of self-serving arseholes like that" who could see beyond "he's wearing nikes therefore he's innocent" and actually attempt to weigh the evidence.

        If you were the defendant then you would certainly want "a bunch of self-serving arseholes like that" who could see beyond the "he owns an Audi and lives in the posh part of town therefore he's guilty" and weigh the actual evidence.

        Morons, by definition, are unable to weigh evidence and justice is best served by those who can, whether they be "self-serving arseholes", welfare claimants, old age pensioners, students or any other person who has the ability to think.

      3. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: Brains

        Magistrates find 90% of defendants guilty vs 66% of Juries. Most people try to argue for a jury trial for that reason.

        1. david wilson


          >>"Magistrates find 90% of defendants guilty vs 66% of Juries. Most people try to argue for a jury trial for that reason."

          If that's what people do, isn't that pretty shaky logic?

          For a start, magistrates hear different kinds of cases, generally less-serious ones, and in addition to that, there can be all kinds of confounding factors and feedbacks between perceptions and outcomes.

          People (jurors or magistrates) might feel they need a higher standard of proof the more serious the offence and the more serious the potential punishment. That could easily lead to growing bias against conviction for crimes which juries see rather than magistrates.

          Even for cases of equal seriousness which could be heard in either court, if there was a /perception/ that a jury will be fairer, that could result in people with a more arguable case (whether they're actually innocent, guilty, or somewhere in between) opting for jury trial more frequently than people with a less hopeful case, (who may be rather more likely to be guilty).

          If that was the case, even if juries and magistrates were equally fair, if the perception was that juries were fairer, that could result in juries acquitting more often simply because the perception skewed the patterns of cases that juries saw compared to magistrates.


    4. Old Handle

      RE: Errrr ...

      I don't know if you're joking, but it's fine to talk about it once the trial is over.

      1. Bob the Bastard


        No its not. What goes on in the jury room is always confidential. The judge makes that clear to you. Or did when I did jury service back in the 70s. It's also why there have been no decent studies on how juries work.

  7. 7mark7

    I assume ...

    ... she won't have access to Farcebook in the clinc. Who knows, she may come out cured.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Moron filter

    Jury duty *IS* a moron filter.

    You're a moron if you can't get out of it!

    1. Matthew 3

      RE: Moron filter

      I've always fancied doing jury service but have never been called up to do it.

      I'm guessing from your comment that they don't even bother to ask those people who are self-evidently not morons.

  9. Wize

    "...'the police are shit' a statement I fully agree with..."

    Remember that should one pull a thug off you while he tries to stamp on your head.

    1. Cameron Colley


      I'm a little sceptical -- do you know of anyone who has been helped in this way? I know I've never herd of it happening -- the police typically turn up after a crime has taken place.

      Admittedly this isn't their fault.

      1. David Barrett



        Not 1 not 2 but 3 police cars came while 2 pricks tried to knick my motor bike whilst threatening me with a bottle.. So yes.

        Indecently, they got 2 years each and I went home on my bike (police also turned a blind eye to my slightly overdue road tax ;)

    2. Dave Murray

      Pulling a thug off

      What candy covered land do you live in?

      Having been attacked by mindless, teenage thugs because I walked past them I can tell you the best you'll get from the police is "Yeah we know who you described but there's no cctv camera there so we can't do anything." and "Do you think the brick they threw at your head is still there? Could you find it?". I have not been past that spot since (2 years ago now) and definitely was not returning that night to look for the brick that gave me 13 stitches next to my left eye.

      1. Jimbo 6

        @ Pulling a thug off

        Is this what's known as 'rough trade' ?

    3. Andus McCoatover

      Ah. Stupid me.

      Played a game of chess last night, with a mate down the pub. Forgot the Sicilian, Petrov or Scandinavian Defences. Lost 2/3.

      Should've tried the Ian Tomlinson defence. My bad.

      Now, I gotta fix Jim.

    4. Steen Hive
      Thumb Down


      So who pulls the pig who is stamping on your head off, then? Ian Tomlinson and many others await your answer extremely patiently.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Police aint shit, some of the rules thay have to follow at times could be questioned though

      I was also jumped on by group of thugs once about 20 years ago, dispite doing my damdest to avoid a physical confrontation. The result was I was the one pulled of the the Police to save the thugs. Of course once realising who they were and getting the facts the police informaly told me that next time, don't mess about and kick the shit out of them and do us all a favour; And would I like to press charges this time, which I didn't. Never had any trouble from those people again, indeed they were overly friendly last I saw of them - but when your crushing a mans lungs in a leg hold and about to snap the little finger right of on there main hand which would of casued them to passout more than likely with pain and reduced resistance to the ribcage etcs it ws just as well the police did pull me of when they did, though they did regret it once they found out why and who I was ontop of.

      Remember a Poleman/Women have to be impartial and whilst they might fully know that X and Y did the crime they have to be able to prove it for procecution and in this country it's biased towards innocent and until we adopt the scottish system of innocent/guilty/not proven I feel we will only propergate the culture of "it won't float so lets not even try".

      This is why the jurer is doing time, becasue it's not common to be able to prove so beyond a shadow of a doubt that when they can it's a no brainer to lock them up, as it should be.

      I would also like to see that she is not allowed to profit from any of this as you can bet there is a book/story/film that could be made out of this, indeed anything stupid usualy ends up that way. Take jackass, without a TV camera it's ASBO training camp material. Throw egg's at a house, ew trouble, do it with a cameraman filming and people will just accept what your doing as fine.

      Still what aspect of "you can't talk about Jury club" did she not understand as everybody else does or they wouldn't be eligable to do jury duty in the first place as they would be too stupid.

      But are the Police shit - NO, are some of the rules/procedure/support/backend they have shit - maybe. But its a better system than alot of other countries and will only get better and better. That said personly anybody who does facebook needs locking up, but thats just me and my mentality that I never did a diary as a child and the aspect of having one public to me makes no sence. I do IM/EMAIL, heck even use a phone to make calls and have been known to meet people face to face. Sure I see it has use's, but none of them essential. For anything positive you can find more negatives and this lady just proved that. Still one bit of good news, with there new photo identifiying software we will finaly find out were Waldo is - for those that care that is.

    6. Tony Green

      More likely...

      ... the thug stamping on your head will be a Met. officer. Probably with his number and face covered up.

      1. Jacqui


        Met police are soft southern b*stids - my home towns police make the met look like wimps.

        I remember working in a council leisure center when 17ish and local plod would pop in around midnight for a cuppa - at the end of the shift they would have to hose the blood out of thier vans.

        They used to try and impress us with tales of what they did in the night shift - some of it was just plain sick.

        No wonder some forces have such a bad reputation.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          'corse the plod dont help

          They would be up on an assault charge for infringing the rights of the thug who is stamping on you.

    7. Will's


      I can quite believe that the police might be stamping on heads, but pulling off a thug at the same time. Unlikely.

      Or did I parse that wrong?

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ Wize

      "Remember that should one pull a thug off you while he tries to stamp on your head."

      You're having a laugh aen't you.

      I witnessed an assault carried out by 3 thugs who were attacking a man and woman. It was directly outside a police social club.

      Guess how many of our brave boys in blue came out to help the victims.

      Instead I almost got a clobbering for trying to help out myself. It wasn’t until it was all over and the thugs had fled that a police van arrived and the plod just stood around looking confused.

      Even then there wasn’t a single copper who bothered to put down his beer and come outside to see what was going on.

    9. Jacqui

      official headstamp

      What happens if the police officer is the one stamping on your head?

  10. Is it me?

    It's made crystal clear

    When you start your term as a juror it is made crystal clear that you should not discuss a case with anyone, as I remember both in your papers, and verbally by the court staff. There is no way a juror could be ignorant of the law.

    You should also remember that most criminals are morons as well, so it's also useful to have some on the jury. Juries in my experience are a wide representation of society, and are pretty good at spotting bullshit from either side, and the Judge.

    There is also a limit to the number of times you can get out of jury service when called, but hopefully all our civic minded non-moron commentators would want to fulfil their civic duty and sit on juries to keep the morons at bay.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      fully agree

      Having done jury service I can confirm your 100% right that it's made crystal clear. Indeed jury service is something I'd highly reccomend as it's a education into how the law works, after that you realise prosecution lawyers need to be paid alot more, clearly as you get what you pay for and defendants don't have that limit applied. Indeed I would say jury service should also pertain to high-end lawyer who end up serving as public prosecution lawyers would also help balance things up somewhat. One day perhaps, you know they can all afford it.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did she only serve on one case?

    Did she serve on only the one case as most usualy end up serving on a few cases during there 2 weeks (average) period of jury service. If so then anybody convicted could and would get a retrial based on this alone.

    So the full and true cost of this is yet to be born out.

    The stigma of her stupidity will serve as a far greater punishment than any level of incarceration; But it's the principle in this case as to why she's doing some time.

    It's sad that this will lead to jurers being talked to in a dumbed down fashin akin to 5 year olds now, albiet being told in full effect the same things - don't talk about fight club - simples.

  12. andy gibson

    Peep Show

    Isn't this just a recreation of that episode of Peep Show where Jez meets and cops off with the accused?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      yes your right

      Maybe peepshow should sue her under copyright infringment, that would be funny.

  13. Phlogistan

    Life is hard.

    It's even harder if you're stupid.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: even harder if you're stupid

      Perhaps hardest of all is if your parents are stupid.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        ...listening to moaners is worse.

  14. Matthew 17

    If you've ever been on a jury...

    You'll know just how hopeless they are.

    I remember sitting, paying attention in each hearing, taking notes, thinking the whole thing was very important, at the end of each trial when marched into the little room I was confronted will 11 people who were only interested in the supplied biscuits and teas, I tried to discuss the charges as instructed by the judge only to be told basically 'I'm not bovvered, owt, just wanna go home, don't ask me, I wasn't listening!'

    For those 2 weeks the verdict for all those trials were down to me alone.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      re: just how hopeless they are

      It's a good job you asked the bailiff to inform the judge that the other jurors weren't doing their duty. You did tell him, didn't you?

      1. Havin_it

        Re: Re:

        That would of course be the correct thing to do, but I can understand how it might feel difficult to do so, given that (as in the article) the result would probably be the trial being abandoned.

  15. Anteaus


    Court is a kind of theatre which tries to demonstrate that one party has a better, more convincing argument than the other. As such, the verdict depends more on thespian skills than on facts.

    That said, the only real winners are the lawyers, who make an indecent amount of money out of the whole show.

    As for ignorance of the law not being a defence, little argument in this instance but in the more general sense it's a bit like telling a guy with one leg that he should have known where all the mines are.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For every one who gets caught

    How any thousands, maybe tens of thousands are not?

  17. Anonymous Coward

    She would have to serve less time

    If she had merely shot someone down in the subway.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    The victim passing sentence?

    She committed a crime and is due a punishment, but many will consider the sentence to be a bit long compared to what you'd get for other crimes.

    Maybe the judiciary shouldn't be responsible for sentencing in cases of contempt of court. After all, they are interested parties, or possibly even the victims of this crime. If I were conducting some sort of business that involved others agreeing to secrecy, I rather doubt that I'd be allowed to sentence anyone who criminally broke the agreement. That would rightly be done by someone independent.

  19. Charles Smith

    The sentence should have been just 1 day

    ... but the silly woman should be made to repay the cost of aborted trial. As a juror she would have been warned at the start of the trial not to discuss details of the case with anyone else.

    Now we the tax payers have to pay for her to have holiday in one of HMG's hotels.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: a holiday in one of HMG's hotels

      Why don't you stroll down to the court where the judge is sitting and interrupt his current case to explain to him what a complete dick he is, and then you can enjoy a free holiday as well.

      I don't mind paying my share.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The fact that this case is getting so much attention is because it involves Facebook. Add Facebook to absolutely any story and suddenly the news media will move it from page 23 to the front page (or whatever the televisual or internet equivalent may be).

    There have been plenty of similar contempt cases in the past that never even made the news, or if they were considered newsworthy it was only the local media. I totally fail to see what makes this story any different from any other contempt proceedings. It's not the method of contact that matters it's the fact that the contact took place.

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