Web-surfing juror causes rape re-trial

Web-surfing juror causes rape re-trial

A rape conviction has been quashed after a juror was found to have downloaded information on sex crimes from the Internet.

Two documents – The Feminist Position on Rape and Rape and the Criminal Justice System – were found in the jury room after the verdict was delivered. Three Appeal Court judges yesterday branded the conviction unsafe and ordered a re-trial.

They said it was wrong for jurors to surf the Net for facts relevant to the case in the same way as they were barred from speaking about the trial to outsiders. Lord Justice Judge said it was almost certain the documents were obtained during an overnight adjournment in the case at Canterbury Crown Court in 2003.

He said that while the Web had benefits, material on it could influence the jury.

He added: “The downloading of this material and its use after the jury had retired contravened very well established principles – bedrocks of criminal justice.”

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