Juror jailed for contempt after jetting off to Malta


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The Independent Online

A juror has been jailed for 56 days after she said she was too sick to attend court and promptly jetted off on a two week holiday to Malta.

Janet Chapman, 52, from Blackpool, was a juror in a serious robbery trial centred around a gang that targeted secure cash delivery trucks. She was present for the four week trial until the day the judge began summing up evidence. She phoned the court saying that she was unfit to attend.

The following day she made a further call to the court’s answering machine stating that she was still unwell because she had sciatica. During the subsequent investigation it emerged that the second call had been placed from a phone in Malta.

A police investigation showed that Chapman had visited the doctor on 19 March to complain of back problems and was given a seven day sick note. She made the call from Malta the following day.

Convicting her of contempt of court at Preston Crown Court today, Judge Russell QC said: “You were not at home as would be expected to be the case if you were off sick for this reason, and whilst such a  complaint might be sufficient to be off work it would not necessarily preclude you from performing jury service. As you were able to endure a flight to Malta and enjoy a holiday there it is quite clear to me that you were not unfit to continue your  duties as a juror on medical grounds."