You're not supposed to Google information about a trial while you're serving on its jury, and you shouldn't Facebook friend the defendant while in deliberations, either.
Joanna Fraill, 40, now faces up to two years in prison (and a "Law & Order: SVU" ripped from her headlines) after she was found guilty of contempt in what's being called "the UK's first Internet-related contempt of court prosecution," The Next Web reports.
Fraill admitted to reaching out via the Internet to defendant Jamie Sewart, 34, while the jury was in deliberations because she says she's "empathetic" and saw "considerable parallels" between their lives.
Transcripts of their Facebook conversations — more like high school girls texting sympathy with lots of "lols" and bad spelling than anything nefarious — were included as evidence in the contempt trial. "Fraill, a mother of three, sobbed and rocked back and forth as details of her Facebook conversation and Internet research were read out in the high court," reports the Guardian.
Sewart , who told the court she knew Fraill was a juror when she accepted her Facebook friend request, received the same conviction. But there's still a lot of mess left to clean up.
These star-crossed Facebook friends met through one of several trials involving a multibillion-pound drug bust (currency, not weight) and several defendants, at a cost of around 6 million pounds. The subsequent social networking between these two caused the whole case to collapse.
Gary Knox, found guilty during the same series of trials, is looking to have his conviction overturned because of jury misconduct. Knox, 35, who is also Sewart's partner, is serving a six-year sentence for "paying a police officer to disclose information on drug dealers," reports the Guardian.
Fraill's legal representative, Peter Wright, "denied his client acted out of a 'cavalier disregard' for the judicial process and told the court how the breach had left her "depressed, isolated and in utter despair."
More on the annoying way we live now:
- British military's online safety videos single out the ladies
- Facebook loses 6 million US users, continues to conquer globe
- How Twitter found 'up to 30 dismembered bodies'