1. ITV Report

Concerns that court cases could be affected by 'trial by social media'

There are concerns that social media could prejudice criminal trials. Credit: PA

A new report is to examine the risks of 'trial by social media' on criminal court cases.

Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC, the Government's top legal advisor, is leading an investigation into the issue.

He is appealing for victims' groups, solicitors and judges to provide evidence of what effect social media has on criminal trials.

Every defendant in this country is entitled to a fair trial where a verdict is delivered based on the evidence heard in court.

Our contempt of court laws are designed to prevent trial by media, however, are they able to protect against trials by social media? I am looking for expert evidence on whether the increasing influence and ubiquity of social media is having an impact on criminal trials and if so, whether the criminal justice system has the tools it needs to manage that risk.

– Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC
A huge amount of information is now easily available on social media websites. Credit: PA

Examples of court orders and reporting restrictions being breached by such online posts are wanted by Mr Wright.

His office will compile a report following the so-called Call for Evidence, setting out whether changes need to be made to address any potentially increased risks caused by social media use.

The Call for Evidence is open until December 8.