The Police Action Project today, 27.05.2023 launches a special project on former or serving police officers (and police staff) sitting as jury members following the report of a former police constable juror jailed for causing trial’s collapse.
A former police officer selected for jury service has been jailed after conducting “blatant” illegal research on a defendant.
Jason Carr, 52, trawled the internet for information during a trial involving serious sexual offences at Chester Crown Court in April 2022.
The trial collapsed, meaning a vulnerable witness had to give evidence for a second time in a retrial.
Carr, of Huntington, Chester, was jailed for six months.
The former police officer, who was sacked from Cheshire Police in 2010 for gross misconduct, admitted two counts of juror misconduct at Liverpool Crown Court.
The court heard Judge Michael Leeming had explicitly warned the jury of their obligation not to research the case.
He said: “The evidence is what you see and hear in this courtroom, it comes from absolutely nowhere else. Do not carry out your own research.”
The jury were also given a leaflet that stating: “As a juror you have taken a legal oath or affirmation to try the defendant based only on the evidence you hear in court.
“It is illegal for you to look for any information at all about your case on the internet or anywhere else during the trial.”
‘Arrogant and deliberate’
The case initially proceeded and the jury retired to consider their verdict on 28 April, the court heard.
But before they resumed deliberations the following day, two jurors sent a note to the judge saying Carr had tried to convince them they could do their own background research on the case and that he had found information about the defendant.
The jury was discharged, the matter was referred by the judge to the Attorney General, and a police investigation was launched.
Eight jurors told officers Carr had told them he had researched the defendant and had continue to make disclosures about them.
Police discovered he had made searches on both his mobile and his laptop.
Adam Till, of the Crown Prosecution Service, branded his behaviour “blatant and deliberate”.
“Despite him expressing his remorse and detailing personal circumstances that led to his conduct, the judge considered his behaviour arrogant and deliberate and so serious to warrant an immediate custodial sentence,” he said.
“The integrity of the criminal justice system in this country is dependent in no small part on the conduct of jurors. They are given clear direction by the courts and must abide by them. If they don’t, they will be before the courts themselves.”
Note to Editors:
The Police Action Project undertakes independent investigations into areas of policing which continue to be a cause of concern for the public.