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Juror faces prison over Facebook chat

A jury member who chatted on Facebook to a defendant in an ongoing drugs trial has pleaded guilty to charges of contempt of court.The juror, Joanna Fraill, told the High Court in London on Tuesday that she had made initial contact with the defendant, Jamie Sewart, over the internet, The Guardian reported.
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor

A jury member who chatted on Facebook to a defendant in an ongoing drugs trial has pleaded guilty to charges of contempt of court.

The juror, Joanna Fraill, told the High Court in London on Tuesday that she had made initial contact with the defendant, Jamie Sewart, over the internet, The Guardian reported.

Fraill admitted contact with Sewart via Facebook while deliberation over the case was ongoing because she felt "empathetic" and saw "considerable parallels" between their lives. The multi-million pound court case later collapsed.

Fraill's legal representative Peter Wright said the situation had left her "depressed, isolated and in utter despair". Fraill is facing up to two years in jail for the breach.

Sewart also faced a contempt of court charge over the contact, and the High Court found her guilty, despite her denial of the charge.

The case was overseen by lord chief justice, Lord Judge, Mr Justice Ouseley and Mr Justice Holroyde, who said both Fraill and Sewart will be sentenced at a later date.

As a result of the drugs trial collapsing, one of the other parties involved in the original trial is applying for his six-year sentence to be overturned.

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