Juror Jailed Six Months For Internet Research

The jurors were told by the Luton Crown Court trial judge they were not to do any internet research on the three accused men who faced criminal charges of intentionally causing grievous bodily harm.

But 34-year-old academic Dr.Theodora Dallas couldn’t resist and told her fellow jurors during their deliberations that she had found some interesting information about one of the defendants on-line. She had googled “grievous bodily harm” and then added the defendant’s name, Barry Medlock, to her google search.

Dr. Dallas discovered a newspaper article that reported that Mr. Medlock had previously been accused, but acquitted of rape–information that did not come out at the trial. One of the other jurors advised a court usher of the internet information, and he informed the trial judge. After the judge investigated he immediately aborted the trial and discharged Dr. Dallas and the remaining jurors.

The Attorney-General launched contempt proceedings against Dr. Dallas who at the time was a psychology lecturer at the University of Bedfordshire in Luton, England.

Three High Court judges found her guilty of contempt of the jury and the jury system and sentenced her to six months in jail with three months to be served in custody and the rest to be served under house arrest.

The judges declared that the damage she had caused the administration of justice was obvious and “misuse of the internet by a juror is always a most serious irregularity and an effective custodial sentence is virtually inevitable.”

The Court acknowleged that Dr. Dallas had resigned her university position and put her academic career in the long-term into jeopardy, however, her deliberate actions could not be condoned.

Mr. Medlock was later convicted and jailed after a new trial.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

5 thoughts on “Juror Jailed Six Months For Internet Research

  1. It is rather obvious that this woman did not UNDERSTAND the instructions (assuming they were given which is not clear). I also believe that she did NOT google the defendant’s name, but her own location to learn about the term in a context related to her. It is clear that a person of her standing and intellect would not have acted in the way she did if she’d been appropriately informed by the court not to do so. This coincides with the experience of many other jurors who were given little or no information about what they could and could not do.

    She needs support, not condemnation! She was merely taking her duties towards the law seriously and is most unjustly punished for that!

  2. Dear Voice of Justice,
    In your blog you admit she looked up grievous bodily harm on the internet but, “allegedly” told the other jurors.
    How would this whole event come about unless the disclosure was a fact.

    Your argument that a person of standing and intellect would not have acted this way.
    IMO, it is fact that she did research, did know not to or wasn’t paying attention when being told not to(the other jurors obviously knew it wasn’t permitted). I guess she missed the instruction to not discuss the case also.

    Maybe she isn’t intelligent enough to know she has a DUTY to avoid outside information OR she is just not of high enough standing to admit the error, omission or crime Or considers herself above the courts standing.
    She certainly felt obliged to try and influence other jurors with her information. All in all a very worthy candidate for contempt.
    Maybe in her 3 months she can take a crash course on Ethics

    • I just wanted to concur with what you said David, in all this hoi poloi of the injustice of this “poor, mistreated” woman, these people who petition for her freedom seem to not care that her actions caused the victim of Barry Medlocks case even MORE distress, this poor man was tortured by Mr. Medlock and because of Dr. Dallas’ blatant stupidity he had to give his testimony again, thus had relive this horrible experience. This woman deserve’s everything she was given..

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