Western Australia’s jury system needs an overhaul, a leading Perth lawyer insists, after a juror was dismissed
The plea was made by Tom Percy QC, president of the Australian Lawyers Alliance, after a juror dismissed for a Facebook post.
Percy said that the number of jurors accessing the internet to comment or seek information about a case is “alarming,” a report from WAtoday revealed.
The trend which possibly denies defendants a fair trial has become “all too regular,” he said.
"The day of the jury may very well be nearly over," the lawyer said.
“It's too seductive for a [juror] to go home at night and go, 'geez what about this bloke, Bill Smith, I'll just go and Google him',” he added
“They find out about him and what he does, they go on Facebook and look him up there and if they don't disclose that... they are armed with knowledge that's not in evidence at the trial that may well be considerable prejudice to the accused,” he concluded.
The dismissed juror is said to have posted on Facebook about a murder case a day before the trial was scheduled to commence.
“At Perth District Court, guilty!” the woman posted on her Facebook account.
Justice Stephen Hall called on the juror to explain the post and said she disrespected the legal process with the social media status that was “inappropriate and “foolish.”
The judge said he could not be confident the woman would be a “fair juror.”