Chapter 5
Jurors and contempt of court

Introduction

5.1The Internet and advances in technology have changed the way ordinary people obtain, use and share information. As a result, it is now more difficult to shield jurors from exposure to extraneous information during a trial.

5.2In this chapter, we examine the law of contempt as it applies to jurors and consider whether changes are needed to modernise the law in this area to better address the risks that jurors accessing material through the Internet or communicating through social media may pose to a defendant’s right to be fairly tried only on the evidence admitted in the courtroom. Given the ready access everyone now has to the Internet, it is unrealistic to assume that jurors, who otherwise use the Internet every day, will not be tempted to check for information relating to aspects of the case they are charged with trying.

5.3We also consider in this chapter issues around jurors who disclose jury deliberations during or after a trial.