Could Social Media Damage The Justice System?


The most senior judge in England and Wales, Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, has thrown a hissy-fit over jurors using new technolgy like this interweb thingy and those scary mobile phones.

According to Lord Judge, social media networks like Facebook and Twitter could influence jurors decisions. He has also raised the possibility of limiting internet use for jurors and has considered banning text messages being sent from inside court rooms.

Lord Judge said: “If the jury system is to survive as the system for a fair trial… the misuse of the internet by jurors must stop.

“We cannot stop people tweeting, but if jurors look at such material, the risks to the fairness of the trial will be very serious, and ultimately the openness of the trial process on which we all rely, would be damaged. We cannot accept that the use of the internet, or rather its misuse, should be acknowledged and treated as an ineradicable fact of life, or that a Nelsonian blind eye should be turned to it or the possibility that it is happening.

He added: “If it is not addressed, the misuse of the internet represents a threat to the jury system which depends, and rightly depends, on evidence provided in court which the defendant can hear and if necessary challenge.”

For decades jurors have been asked to ignore media reports about trials. I mean, surely a little common sense is needed here and it’s just a case of shooting the (instant) messenger?