Juror Theodora Dallas jailed for contempt of court
A juror who researched a defendant’s past on the internet and shared the information with fellow jurors has been jailed for contempt of court.
University of Bedfordshire academic Dr Theodora Dallas, 34, told jurors a man on assault charges at Luton Crown Court had previously been accused of rape.
The trial in July 2011 was halted. Dallas, who is Greek, said her grasp of English was sometimes “not that good”.
Three High Court judges sentenced her to six months in prison.
Dallas appeared before the High Court last Thursday after government legal advisers launched contempt proceedings.
The three judges delivered their ruling on Monday.
Dallas said in a written statement: “I had no intention at all to prejudice the jury in any way. I had no intention to disobey what the judge said.”
Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC told Lord Judge, Lady Justice Hallett and Mr Justice Openshaw that Dallas had impeded the administration of justice and was in contempt.
But the academic, who was suspended from her job as a psychology lecturer, told the judges she had “no intention” of influencing the jury.
“I did not understand that I could make no search on the internet,” she said.
“I really apologise. I never thought it would cause such disruption,” she added.