Does Google nobble juries?

Celebrity lawyer Chris Murphy

Twitter is a much more useful social media tool than I had imagined. I’ve been using it for several weeks now to produce the daily links to interesting legal stories here at CDU Law and Business Online. Contrary to previous impressions, I’ve discovered that you can conduct a reasonably effective conversation despite the 140 character limit on any one “tweet”.

One example is an exchange I had yesterday with Sydney celebrity lawyer Chris Murphy. Readers may recall that I wrote a slightly equivocal (though mostly positive) article some weeks ago about Murphy and his noble fight against alleged ongoing police harassment of Muslim lawyer Adam Houda.

After clearing the air on that front we discussed a more general legal issue: the effect on juries of the Internet and the propensity of some jurors to use Google to do some amateur sleuthing into the case before them:

@chrismurphys Said I may have misjudged and indeed think I have from reading your tweets for a few weeks. It was a hook to a story

@chrismurphys Although I still find Cunneen events disturbing.

@CDUlawschool Cuneen? Known ID gives evidence for thug footballer gets u a drink, pulls out a chair, wouldn’t be a sexual assaulter!!!

@CDUlawschool she talked in a public speech about a man who later won his appeal. Crown should shut up & roll out the evidence.

@chrismurphys Appellate judges resist prej effect of public discussion even if juries cant. Why prosecutor silence rule but def lawyers not?

Keep reading at CDU Law and Business Online>>

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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