The Attorney General has vowed to tackle the potential pitfalls that social media can pose to criminal trials.

Mark Pettingill told the Sun there was a ‘valid concern’ in Bermuda that sites such as Facebook and Twitter could be sources of contempt during jury trials.

And he said it would be ‘sensible’ to adopt UK guidelines provided to social media users to ensure a fair trial.

Mr Pettingill would also not rule out implementing proposed UK legislation that provides for jurors to be jailed for up to two years for researching cases on the internet.

His comments come after the Chief Justice, Ian Kawaley, recently stated that the British approach to providing social media guidelines deserved ‘careful consideration’.

In early December, 2013, England and Wales Attorney- General Dominic Grieve, QC announced plans to issue guidance to social network users on how to permissibly comment on pending cases.

Mr Pettingill told the Bermuda Sun: “One must sensibly consider any invitation from the Chief Justice and I certainly am of the view that this is a valid concern and it would be sensible to adopt the guidelines as suggested.

“I will endeavour to address this as soon as practicable.” Meanwhile, in the UK, jurors who research cases on the internet will face up to two years in prison under a new criminal offence announced in Parliament earlier this month. The new two year penalty will also apply to jury members who post messages about cases on social media sites or engage in other conduct prohibited by a judge.

The reform, unveiled by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling as part of a new criminal justice bill, has been prompted by concern that modern technology is posing an increasing threat to the fairness of trials. And it follows cases in the UK, which jurors have caused to collapse by researching details on the internet or by contacting defendants via social media sites. Mr Pettingill told the Sun the idea of jurors being sanctioned for online research warranted discussion.

He added: “The aspect of jurors facing penalties for this type of breach warrants further discussion; Bermuda is a much smaller community than the U.K so we have to look carefully at the application of this type of punitive measure. Ensuring the interest of justice however is in my view of paramount concern.”