Juries and the use of social media during trials
Media reported recently that there may be an attempt to stop the Jesse Ryder assault case because of publication of material that may damage the accused’s right to fair trial. One of the concerns in cases like this is that information will stay on the internet and juries might get access to it later. This really raises the issue of how to apply the sub judice laws to the internet. So today I thought I would talk about a recent study in Australia that has looked at juries and social media. This was a report carried out for the Victorian Department of Justice and published this year. The researchers there looked at what other studies world-wide have shown about what jurors do with social media, and also at what other Commonwealth countries do to address possible prejudice that might arise. This report is only about social media use, not internet use generally, although it must be said that many of the problems identified apply to the internet but perhaps not in such extreme forms.