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Advocacy Section

Attorney general to investigate impact of social media on criminal trials

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Judges, solicitors and victims’ groups are being asked to submit evidence about the impact of social media on criminal trials.

The attorney general is asking judges, police and victims’ groups for examples of where posts, chat and tweets have compromised a trial.

Law Society president Joe Egan said: ‘Social media increases the opportunities for people involved in trials to disclose or receive information that might put justice at risk, but that risk has always existed. We need to continue to balance the right to freedom of expression with the right of an accused person to a fair trial.

‘It is vital that anyone participating in a trial - witnesses, members of the jury - understands what they can and can’t do - and also understands the consequences of breaking these laws. It’s also worth thinking about what more we can do to help social media users understand these issues.’

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