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Facebook contempt ruling lands British juror in jail

Facebook contempt: A British judge sends a juror to jail for making contact with a defendant via the social media site. The Facebook contempt ruling is a first in Britain.

Paul Hackett/Reuters
Facebook contempt: Joanne Fraill (C) arrives at the High Court in central London June 16. Fraill, who contacted a defendant through the Facebook social networking website, causing a multi-million pound trial to collapse, was jailed for eight months on Thursday in a British legal first.

A judge has sentenced a juror to eight months in jail for contacting a defendant on Facebook during a trial.

Forty-year-old Joanne Fraill admitted contempt of court for chatting with defendant Jamie Seward on the social networking site.

Justice Igor Judge said Thursday that her conduct was "directly contrary to her oath as a juror."

Fraill is the first juror in Britain to be convicted of using the Internet during a trial. She burst into tears when the sentence was pronounced

Her lawyer said she was remorseful and had not meant to subvert the trial.

Seward was given a two-month suspended sentence at London's High Court.

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