Justice for THEODORA DALLAS
This petition had 712 supporters
Theodora Dallas, formerly a psychology lecturer, has been sentenced to 6 months imprisonment for contempt of court.
In summer 2011 Ms Dallas, a Greek national, was called for jury duty at Luton Crown Courts. During the trial, in an attempt to clarify the accurate legal meaning of "grievous bodily harm" she came upon information relevant to the defendant's past which she allegedly mentioned in discussions with the other jurors. When this came to the attention of the judge by one of the jurors, the trial was aborted and prosecution proceedings were started against Theodora for contempt of court.
During her trial she repeatedly explained that she had not actively sought out this information, had no intention of influencing the jury and had nothing to gain from sharing this information. Instructions given to the jurors about researching the case were unclear and research has shown that 2 out of 3 jurors do not fully understand instructions given to them in court (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8519138.stm" rel="nofollow nofollow">http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8519138.stm).
The judges decided that Theodora had understood the instructions very well and had done her search because she deliberately wanted to influence the jury. The judges passed on their sentence without proving any motive as to why Theodora would have wanted to influence the jury and without explaining how a “highly intelligent” woman, shared with strangers an action that she knew bore a jail sentence.
Theodora was consequently sentenced to 6 months in jail with at least three of these to be served in custody. This sentence appears ridiculously harsh and it would seem that she is being used to make an example to future jurors.
An appeal against this decision was made to the Supreme Court on 25th January 2011 after she had been denied a direct appeal by the judges who passed the sentence. This appeal has now also been refused.
The way to address the problem Theodora's case has brought to the surface is NOT through the draconian implementation of the law. Instead, we ask to drastically improve the way jury members are informed and trained for service.
This call goes beyond Theodora's case. It is about the way law-abiding citizens are treated by the law: either fairly and sensibly or in a deeply punitive and harsh way.
If you wish to support her appeal and feel that this punishment is inappropriate and unjust, please add your name to this petition!
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