Juror at Hull Crown Court faces prison for texting false allegations about defendant
A WOMAN who was on jury service faces jail after texting false allegations about a defendant to a juror in another trial.
Danielle Robinson, 19, was carrying out the public duty at Hull Crown Court.
SEAT OF JUSTICE: Hull's Combined Court Centre.
She decided to text a juror on a separate trial false allegations that the defendant was a paedophile.
Robinson told the woman, who she had only just met while on jury service, the defendant had been in prison and stolen baby clothes.
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Two trials, which have cost the taxpayer thousands of pounds, nearly collapsed as a result of her actions.
Robinson, a mother of one, of Crayford Close, Greatfield, told the Mail: "I shouldn't have done it and I am sorry.
"I didn't know that could happen just because of a text message. I didn't know I could go to prison.
"I am gutted and I have got to think about my baby. I am sad because I really didn't know. I am really worried about my son and I."
Judge Roger Thorn QC has told her to expect jail after she pleaded guilty to contempt of court. He told her, "Ignorance is no excuse".
Judge Thorn said: "As is required, all jurors are shown a DVD and warned by a judge to have no contact with anyone else and not to speak about the case and she did it in defiance of that.
"What did she expect with jury tampering? It couldn't be more blatant. Not only was the juror on my case discharged, but the whole jury risked being discharged.
"She will get bail, but there will be a custodial sentence."
He told her: "I will give you bail out of common decency and humanity. How any juror can come to tamper with another absolutely defies imagination when you are given clear warnings about these things. The juror actually told you she couldn't talk to you and you persisted."
The charge carries a maximum sentence of two years in jail.
The juror who received the message showed it to ushers at the court yesterday and was immediately taken off the theft trial on which she was sat.
Robinson was isolated from the rest of the jury and taken to the cells, where she was charged with contempt of court.
The judges on both trials had to consider discharging the entire juries in case the trials had been prejudiced.
She claimed she had been told a defendant in a different case was a paedophile and texted a woman she had met while on jury service to tell her. The juror who received the text message explained to Robinson she could not speak to her about the case, but Robinson sent another message.
It read: "...he's been in prison before and is a paedo and when he broke into the pub he took all the kids underwear xx."
Robinson's barrister Paul Genney said: "She has no previous convictions and she has a five-month-old baby boy.
"She was looking forward to jury service and she befriended another lady in the jury room.
"This is an offence of excited stupidity. It is beginning to dawn on her how serious this is."
Judge Thorn said that there is no evidence at all that the man she accused is a paedophile.
Robinson is due to be sentenced at Hull Crown Court on Tuesday.