Jury fore­man who Googled trial facts is sent to prison

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By LYNDA ROUGHLEY news­desk@men-news.co.uk @MENnews­desk

A JURY fore­man used the in­ter­net to look up in­for­ma­tion dur­ing a trial and then search for whether he could be jailed for us­ing the web.

Lionel Tweed, 54, put him­self for­ward to be fore­man of a mur­der trial jury at Manch­ester Crown Court but ig­nored rules about not mak­ing in­ter­net searches.

Dur­ing the lengthy trial of Pol­ish man Piotr Ole­jar­czyk – who stabbed another man to death – a fel­low juror asked Tweed if there was na­tional ser­vice in Poland. He said ‘yes’ but later de­cided he would check on­line.

Po­lice seized Tweed’s com­puter and con­firmed that he had made searches on De­cem­ber 18 and 21 about Pol­ish Na­tional Ser­vice and com­pul­sory army train­ing.

Iron­i­cally, he had also made a search about jurors go­ing to jail for such re­search the next day.

Ole­jar­czyk was con­victed on De­cem­ber 22 last year. At the sen­tenc­ing hear­ing the next day one of the jurors handed in a note to the court ex­plain­ing that dur­ing the trial Tweed had told them of his in­ter­net search.

Sen­tenc­ing Tweed, Wes­ley Street, Swin­ton, Liver­pool Crown Court, Judge Alan Con­rad, QC, said it was made clear to jurors that they must not look for in­for­ma­tion out­side the ev­i­dence, par­tic­u­larly in­ter­net searches.

“The po­ten­tial con­se­quences of dis­obe­di­ence of such or­ders, in re­la­tion to both the trial it­self and to any juror con­cerned, are also em­pha­sised. The in­tegrity of the trial process is of para­mount im­por­tance.”

Judge Con­rad said he ac­cepted of at DOMINIC SALTER that Tweed, a mar­ried man, is ‘very ashamed’ but the case was so se­ri­ous that only im­me­di­ate im­pris­on­ment could be jus­ti­fied. “It has to be made clear that con­duct of this sort by jurors, in the face of warn­ings and with its po­ten­tial im­pact on the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem, will be dealt with se­ri­ously.” Tweed, who was wear­ing a smart blue suit in the dock, had pleaded guilty to two charges in­volv­ing re­search by a juror and shar­ing that re­search with other jurors and was jailed for four months. Ger­ard Do­ran, de­fend­ing, said that Tweed, who has no rel­e­vant con­vic­tions, was ashamed and sorry for his be­hav­iour, adding: “He took his role too se­ri­ously and got car­ried away.”

Jack Rus­sell Char­lie with own­ers Car­o­line and Robert Cocker

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