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Juror jailed over online research

Level 2 Intermediate
1 Warmer
How many internet-related crimes can you think of?
Are people likely to be sent to prison for committing these crimes?

2 Key words
Write the key words from the article next to the definitions below. The paragraph numbers have been given
to help you find the words in context.

contempt of court defendant grievous bodily harm (GBH) trial


jailed juror proceedings

1. one of a group of 12 ordinary members of the public who judge a court case ___________________________
(title)
2. put in prison ___________________________ (title)
3. someone who has been accused of a crime and is on trial ___________________________ (subtitle)
4. the crime of not doing what a judge in a court of law has ordered you to do ___________________________
(para 2)
5. the process of examining a case in a court of law and deciding whether someone is guilty or innocent
___________________________ (para 4)
6. the crime of attacking someone violently and causing very serious injuries ___________________________
(para 4)
7. the actions taken, usually in court, to settle a legal matter ___________________________ (para 5)

acquit justice appeal victim


oath prosecuted sentence

8. to formally ask a court of law to change its decision ___________________________ (para 5)


9. treatment of people that is fair and morally right ___________________________ (para 6)
10. a formal promise, especially one made in a court of law ___________________________ (para 7)
11. a verb (usually used in the passive form) to state officially that someone is not guilty of the crime they were
accused of ___________________________ (para 9)
12. a punishment given by a judge, usually involving a period of time that a person must spend in prison
___________________________ (para 13)
13. someone who has been harmed, injured or killed as the result of a crime ___________________________
(para 13)
14. accused of a crime and judged by a court of law ___________________________ (para 14)
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NEWS LESSONS / Juror jailed over online research / Intermediate


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Juror jailed over online research
Level 2 Intermediate
Juror jailed over online research in the UK after she arrived from Greece at the
age of 19.
University lecturer Theodora Dallas jailed for six
months for researching criminal defendant while
9 She said she had been checking the meaning of
serving on jury
grievous bodily harm on the internet, then she
Owen Bowcott added the word Luton to a search. This search
23 January, 2012 showed a newspaper report which mentioned
that Medlock had previously been accused of
1 A former university lecturer who did online rape. It showed he had been acquitted of the
research about a criminal defendant while she charge and it included information not talked
was a juror has been jailed for six months. about during his trial.

2 Theodora Dallas, 34, taught psychology at the 10 Dallas admitted that sometimes my grasp of
University of Bedfordshire. She was found guilty English is not that good.
of contempt of court by three high court judges,
including Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice. 11 I did not understand that I could make no search
on the internet, Dallas explained. I had no
3 The case shows the growing problem that courts intention at all of prejudicing the jury in any way.
have: they must make sure jurors do not use I had no intention of disobeying what the judge
the internet to investigate cases, in a time when said. I really apologize. I never thought it would
looking up facts on a computer seems natural. cause such problems.

4 Dallas, who did the research at home, was a juror 12 Judge admitted that such cases were quite a new
in the trial at Luton Crown Court in July 2011. problem for the courts. We are trying to produce
She told other members of the jury what she had a simple formula for use, he said. This is a
found out about the defendant, Barry Medlock. relatively new area.
Medlock was on trial for grievous bodily harm.
The judge had to stop the trial after discovering 13 After the sentence was given, Grieve said: I take
what had happened. At a later date, Medlock was no pleasure in bringing such cases but they send
tried again and found guilty. an important message. By her action Ms Dallas
stopped a trial which was near completion and
5 The contempt of court proceedings were started aside from the financial implications, her actions
by the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve. The resulted in the victim in the case being forced
judges did not allow Dallas to appeal but she can to return to court and give evidence for a
apply directly to challenge the decision. second time.

6 The Lord Chief Justice said Dallas had 14 There can be little doubt that repeated warnings
deliberately disobeyed the trial judges were given to Ms Dallas and her fellow jurors
instructions not to search the internet. He added: not to conduct research into the case which they
The damage to the administration of justice were trying. Only three weeks earlier another
is obvious. juror Joanne Fraill was prosecuted for discussing
a trial on Facebook; a case mentioned by the
7 He said other jurors had fully understood that judge in his directions to the jury.
they were not allowed to use the internet. Her
behaviour in visiting the internet repeatedly was 15 A report for the Ministry of Justice in 2010 found
directly contrary to her oath as a juror. that two out of three jurors do not fully understand
the legal instructions given to them by judges.
8 Dallas, already suspended by the university,
has now resigned from her job. The court had Guardian News & Media 2012
previously heard that she was a woman of First published in The Guardian, 23/01/12
good character, and that she had got a degree
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NEWS LESSONS / Juror jailed over online research / Intermediate


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Juror jailed over online research
Level 2 Intermediate
3 Comprehension check
Answer the questions according to the information in the article.

1. Theodora Dallas was sent ...


a. home.
b. to Greece.
c. to jail.

2. She was on trial for


a. grievous bodily harm.
b. contempt of court.
c. rape.

3. She did online research into the defendant


a. at home.
b. at an internet caf.
c. in court on her smartphone.

4. Barry Medlock was on trial for .


a. grievous bodily harm.
b. contempt of court.
c. rape.

5. She said she had carried out the research because


a. she wanted to find out whether Medlock had a criminal record.
b. she wanted to look up a legal term.
c. she comes from Greece.

4 Collocations
Match the verbs or verb forms on the left with the words on the right to make collocations from the article.
Discuss their meanings and make example sentences for each one.

1. find a. of a charge
2. investigate b. a decision
3. be c. guilty
4. challenge d. evidence
5. search e. a trial
6. acquitted f. on trial
7. prejudice g. the internet
8. give h. cases
9. conduct i. a jury
10. discuss j. research
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NEWS LESSONS / Juror jailed over online research / Intermediate


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Juror jailed over online research
Level 2 Intermediate
5 Word formation
Complete the table with verbs and nouns found in the article.

nouns verbs

1. try (someone)

2. research

3. usage

4. discovery

5. appeal

6. decide

7. administer

8. resignation

9. acquit

10. apology

11. sentence

12. complete

13. implicate

14. report

6 Discussion
Do you think that the juror should have been sent to jail? Why? Why not?

7 Writing
Write a letter to a newspaper or write a comment for an internet forum. Say why you think the decision to
send Ms Dallas to jail was right or wrong.

8 Webquest
Find out about the British jury system at
http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/CrimeJusticeAndTheLaw/Juryservice/DG_072707.
Is the system in your country similar?
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NEWS LESSONS / Juror jailed over online research / Intermediate


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