A JUROR is facing the threat of jail because a massive drugs trial collapsed after she was accused of contacting one of the defendants on Facebook.

Joanne Fraill was a serving member of the jury on a major Bolton drugs conspiracy trial when she is alleged to have sent a message to one of the defendants using the social networking website.

Due to legal restrictions, The Bolton News has been unable to report the allegations since the jury was discharged on August 4.

Her case was considered at the High Court in London yesterday, however, and the Attorney General was given permission to pursue her committal to prison.

After two-and-a-half months of hearings last year, Fraill, of Haverfield Road, Blackley, Manchester, is alleged to have “conducted an online discussion” with one of the defendants, Jamie Sewart, who had already been acquitted of the charges she faced.

It is also claimed Fraill searched for information about defendants on the internet when their cases had not yet concluded, and that she gave information about the jury’s deliberations to Sewart.

As a result, the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC, says the jury had to be discharged, with the trial — estimated to have cost millions of pounds — almost at its conclusion.

In a statement presented to the High Court yesterday by Angus McCullough QC, Mr Grieve set out his case for being granted permission to seek Ms Fraill’s committal to prison for contempt.

It said: “An order for committal is sought . . . Ms Fraill contacted Ms Sewart via the internet and conducted an online conversation with her.

“The discussion took place at a time when the jury still had outstanding verdicts to return on the case.

“That contact and discussion were in direct breach of the judge’s repeated directions to the jury that they should not discuss the case with anyone outside their number, and constituted a contempt of court.

“Ms Fraill also conducted internet searches on the defendants she was trying.”

Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Stadlen, sitting at London’s High Court, granted permission for contempt proceedings to be launched against Fraill.

Ms Sewart, aged 34, of Henrietta Street, Bolton, will also face an application to have her jailed, on the allegation that she “solicited from Ms Fraill particulars of the jury’s deliberations in relation to a count they were still considering.”

The case will now go forward to a further High Court hearing before two judges to determine whether the pair will be jailed.

The maximum for contempt of court is an unlimited fine and an indefinite jail term.