Britain Right to Convict Juror Who Searched Internet: Rights Court

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Britain Right to Convict Juror Who Searched Internet: Rights Court

Britain did not violate the rights of a woman who received a prison sentence for doing research on the Internet about a case where she was a juror, the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday.

The woman had complained to the Strasbourg-based court after she was sentenced to three months in 2012 for contempt of court for searching for information on an accused at a trial and then passing the information on to her co-jurors.

The judge at the trial in Britain had instructed all jurors to refrain from using the Internet and from speaking to anyone about the trial. The case was thrown out of court as a result.

The woman "complained that the common law offence of contempt of court had not been sufficiently clear," the court said in its decision Thursday.

But it ruled against her, noting that "the test for contempt of court applied in her case had been both accessible and foreseeable."

"The law-making function of the courts had remained within reasonable limits and the judgement in her case could be considered, at most, a step in the gradual clarification of the rules of criminal liability for contempt of court through judicial interpretation," it said.

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