The Instagram Posts That Almost Caused A Mistrial
It has been revealed four days of deliberations on the Gable Tostee trial were almost thwarted by a juror’s Instagram posts.
As the wait for the jury’s verdict on the death of Warriena Wright entered the thirteenth hour, news spread that one female juror had been posting about her role on social media.
The seemingly innocent photos of her coffee cups were almost responsible for a mistrial, with Tostee’s defence applying for just that in response to the snaps.
Tagging her location at the Supreme Court of Queensland, the juror told followers she had “snagged a bad one [trial]” and that it was a “high profile case”.
The posts directly contravened court orders not to discuss the trial with anyone outside of the jury.
While Justice John Byrne ruled the comments did not jeopardise a fair trial, they have been labelled ‘risky’ by experts.
“Judges every day, at the beginning of the trial and at the end of every day before the jury retires for the day to go home, judges remind jurors not to discuss the trial with anyone outside the jury,” criminal barrister and lecturer James Moreton told the ABC.
He said more needed to be done to reduce the risk of social media being unwittingly used by juries.
“I think the jury members' mobile phones and access to social media will have to be restricted during the course of the deliberations,” he said.
The sentiment was reiterated by the juror’s followers who admonished her for risking a mistrial.
“I can’t believe you posted this on Instagram during deliberations,” one wrote.
“Do you know how much court time/money will be wasted if the jury gets dismissed over this.”
Another called her an “idiot” writing “I cannot believe you could be stupid enough to do this”.
Jurors can face up to two years jail time if found guilty of publicly revealing information from their deliberations.