Written Answers - Court Procedures

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 736 No. 3

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  34.  Deputy Brendan Smith  Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith   asked the Minister for Justice and Equality  Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter   if his attention has been drawn to the recent criminal case in the UK that collapsed due to a juror using a social media outlet and his plans to ensure this does not occur in this jurisdiction. [16783/11]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter  I am aware of the case to which the Deputy refers. In the normal course of a trial a judge charges the jury, as he or she considers appropriate, as to its behaviour during the course of the trial and jury deliberations to ensure that no action is taken which could adversely affect the trial. It is a contempt of court, punishable by a fine or imprisonment for a juror, to discuss the case with any person other than another jury member. This restriction would extend to discussion of the case in a social media forum.

In addition, as the Deputy may be aware, the Law Reform Commission is considering the issue of jury service as part of its Third Programme of Law Reform 2008-2014. The Commission engaged in a public consultation last year and I look forward to the publication of their final report and recommendations which I understand is likely to be completed in the latter half of this year. The scope of the Law Reform Commission examination extends to consideration of juror misconduct and I will, in due course, consider the matter further in the context of that report.

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