Runaway juror appeal denied

File photo dated 23/09/11 of a general view of Preston Crown Court, as a juror was jailed for 56 days today after going on holiday during the trial she was sitting on.'Janet Chapman, 52, of Blackpool, Lancashire, rang court officials to say she had back pain and could not attend for two weeks. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday April 5, 2012. The deputy care home manageress had listened to three weeks of evidence in a robbery trial at Preston Crown Court but failed to appear at the start of the final week of the scheduled four-week hearing. See PA story COURTS  Juror. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire
File photo dated 23/09/11 of a general view of Preston Crown Court, as a juror was jailed for 56 days today after going on holiday during the trial she was sitting on.'Janet Chapman, 52, of Blackpool, Lancashire, rang court officials to say she had back pain and could not attend for two weeks. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday April 5, 2012. The deputy care home manageress had listened to three weeks of evidence in a robbery trial at Preston Crown Court but failed to appear at the start of the final week of the scheduled four-week hearing. See PA story COURTS Juror. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire
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A JUROR from Blackpool who was jailed after she went on holiday during a trial she was sitting on, has lost her fight to have her sentence reversed.

Janet Chapman, 52, of Preston New Road, Marton, who was jailed for 56 days, had her challenge turned down in the Appeal Court.

She is due to be released from custody tomorrow after serving half her sentence.

Chapman had argued the sentence was “manifestly excessive”.

But Lord Justice Pill, sitting with Mr Justice Spencer and Judge Thornton, dismissed her appeal and said they agreed with the judge who jailed her that it was a serious contempt and the sentence was not excessive.

The deputy care home manageress had already spent three weeks on the jury at a robbery trial at Preston Crown Court when she rang to say she had hurt her back.

The next day she rang again after getting a doctor’s certificate to say she was unfit for work.

She and her partner then drove to Liverpool Airport and boarded a three hour flight for a “surprise” holiday in Malta.

She even rang the court from Malta to say she was too ill to attend.

Chapman was arrested on her return and jailed by Judge Anthony Russell QC who told her if she had suffered such severe back pain she could not do jury service, then she would not have been able to fly off on holiday.

Lord Justice Pill said her contempt was “aggravated by the deviousness of her conduct”.

Court staff became suspicious on March 19 after realising the call Chapman made to tell them she was unwell was made from a number in Malta.

In the call she said: “Hello, this is Janet Chapman. I won’t be attending court for up to two weeks. I have got to return to the doctors next Tuesday. I have got sciatica.”

Police later discovered, although she had been to her GP and been written a seven-day sick note, Chapman had gone on holiday with her partner.

He said he booked the £669 holiday in January, but had not told her about it until the night before.

Chapman said she did not think she had a duty to attend court, having been signed off as unfit to work.

She listened emotionless to the appeal by video link from Styal Prison, Cheshire.