In a recent case in an Australian courtroom an instance of ‘tweeting’ was reported for the first time.
Two journalists tweeted, which gave rise to outrage on the one hand and acceptance on the other, in particular from the presiding Judge who said that “twittering can serve to inform the public in a more speedy and comprehensive manner than may be possible through traditional methods”.
The issue surrounding the use of tweeting is that jurors are able to read the posts. Therefore, it is the content of tweets that is at issue. If the tweeting delves into commentary on the issues raised during a trial, or the demeanour of witnesses, then that may become problematic as it could affect the outcome of the trial.
Notwithstanding the merits of the arguments on either side of the twittering debate, it looks like tweeting is here to stay and raises the question of whether tweeting should be embraced and jurors educated about the potential risks and misuse of tweeting. However, equally, jurors should be encouraged not to twitter their time away outside of trial!