A juror who brought down a £6m drugs trial after contacting a defendant through Facebook was jailed for eight months yesterday in a British legal first. Joanne Fraill, 40, of Blackley, Greater Manchester, admitted contempt of court for having a conversation with Jamie Sewart, 34, who had already been cleared on the drugs case.
Because other defendants were still on trial at the time, the judge discharged the jury and the drugs case in Manchester collapsed.
Sewart, of Bolton, was given a two-month sentence suspended for two years after she was found guilty of contempt.
Sentencing Fraill at the High Court in London, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, said: "Her contact with the acquitted defendant, as well as her repeated searches on the internet, constituted flagrant breaches of the orders made by the judge for the proper conduct of the trial."
Fraill, who has three children, repeated "Eight months", then put her head on the table and wept.