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Facebook contempt ruling lands British juror in jail

Facebook contempt: A British judge sends a juror to jail for making contact with a defendant via the social media site. The Facebook contempt ruling is a first in Britain.

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Facebook contempt: Joanne Fraill (C) arrives at the High Court in central London June 16. Fraill, who contacted a defendant through the Facebook social networking website, causing a multi-million pound trial to collapse, was jailed for eight months on Thursday in a British legal first.

Paul Hackett/Reuters

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A judge has sentenced a juror to eight months in jail for contacting a defendant on Facebook during a trial.

Forty-year-old Joanne Fraill admitted contempt of court for chatting with defendant Jamie Seward on the social networking site.

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Justice Igor Judge said Thursday that her conduct was "directly contrary to her oath as a juror."

Fraill is the first juror in Britain to be convicted of using the Internet during a trial. She burst into tears when the sentence was pronounced

Her lawyer said she was remorseful and had not meant to subvert the trial.

Seward was given a two-month suspended sentence at London's High Court.