Two jurors jailed for contempt of court over use of internet during trials

One posted Facebook comments that he wanted to 'F*** up a paedophile' and the other Googled a case

A juror dropped from the trial of an alleged sex offender after posting on Facebook that he wanted to “F*** up a paedophile” has been jailed for two months after being found guilty of contempt of court.

Kasim Davey, 21, from Palmers Green, north London, said there was “a lot of Jimmy Savile news at the time” and he sent the Facebook message as a result of “spontaneous surprise at the kind of case I was on”.

A second juror, Joseph Beard, 29, was also found guilty of contempt by using the internet to research the case he was sitting on as a juror at Kingston Crown Court.

He was also jailed for two months, and both men must serve half their sentences behind bars.

Sir John Thomas, president of the Queen's Bench Division, used the cases to send out a warning to jurors generally that “immediate custodial sentences are almost inevitable in cases of this kind”.

Tearful families watched as both men were sentenced after being prosecuted by the Attorney General Dominic Grieve for "interfering with the administration of justice" through their internet activity.

Both were allowed 15 minutes with their loved ones before the court tipstaff led them away to the cells at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Later, the Attorney General said: "Jurors who use the internet to research a case undermine justice.

"It creates a risk that the defendant will be convicted or acquitted, not on the evidence, but on unchallenged and untested material discovered by the juror.

"Equally, the case of Kasim Davey shows that jurors must follow the directions given to them by the trial judge not to discuss the case outside the jury room, including discussions and posts on the internet."

Davey posted to his 400 Facebook friends: "Woooow I wasn't expecting to be in a jury Deciding a paedophile's fate, I've always wanted to F*** up a paedophile & now I'm within the law!"

A judge at Wood Green Crown Court was alerted and, last December, Davey was discharged from the retrial of Adam Kephalas, who was later convicted of sexual activity with a child.

Sir John and Mr Justice Sweeney said they rejected as "untruthful" Davey's assertion that his message was not meant seriously.

They said the message made clear to his Facebook friends "that he would use his prejudices in deciding the case".

They added: "The choice of the term 'f*** up' underlined his disregard of the duties he had undertaken as a juror".

The second juror, Joseph Beard, 29, was found to be guilty of contempt by using the internet to research the case he was sitting on as a juror at Kingston Crown Court to find out how many witnesses there might be.

The jury was trying two men accused of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering last year.

The trial started on October 2 but ended on November 9 when the jury was discharged after his activities came to light.

The judges said they accepted the evidence that he had done research via Google and discovered a figure of about 1,800 investors being involved in the alleged fraud he was trying.

He had done so because of frustration over lengthy delays in the trial process.

But the court heard his actions had cost him dear. He had a daughter aged nearly two and had married his wife in June, said his counsel John Cooper QC.

He needed to be back at work to earn money to pay for the wedding, but his foolish actions meant that he would now lose his job.

The judges said: "We are sure that he knew that using the internet to find out information about the case was something he should not do."

They said they had little doubt that Beard felt pressure to return to work.

Although this might explain why he deliberately breached the directions of the judge, "it does not excuse in any way his conduct as he knew full well that conducting research on the internet was an interference with the administration of justice and intended by him to be such".

The defendants in the original trial, Ian Macdonald and David Downes, faced a retrial and were convicted in March. They were jailed for eight years and four-and-a-half years respectively on April 18.

In a postscript to the judgment, Sir John said that "every attempt is made to try and warn jurors not to use the internet or social sites for any purpose in relation to the case".

He added: "However, as is also clear, the language used is not consistent, giving room for argument of the type advanced before us as to what a juror might understand was prohibited."

Sir John said: "Many judges have adopted the practice not only of warning the jury in terms similar to what the judges in these two cases did, but also handing the jury a notice setting out what they must and must not do, and the penal consequences of any breach.

"They have done this so that no juror can subsequently claim that he or she did not understand what they should not do, and what the consequences might be."

The judge said the court proposed to invite the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee in consultation with the Judicial College to "review the terminology used in the material given to the jury" and to consider whether to recommend that the practice of handing out a notice as well as the warning "should be universally followed".


ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments