A juror has narrowly avoided a jail term after he searched the internet for information during a sexual abuse trial, forcing the court case to be restarted.

Aslam Dhamani admitted carrying out research into issues which had been raised as part of the defence case, when he served as jury foreman on the trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court in 2016.

The 41-year-old, of Buckhurst Hill, also pleaded guilty to passing on information he had uncovered to other jurors.

His actions caused the entire jury to be dismissed, forcing a retrial.

Dhamani was given a seven month prison sentence suspended for 12 months on Friday at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

He pleaded guilty to two offences under the Juries Act at an earlier hearing – research by a juror and sharing research with other jurors.

Elaine Cousins, senior prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) North London, said: "Jurors are clearly warned it is an offence to carry out their own research during trials and doing so could lead to a prison sentence of up to two years.

"They are also warned about sharing that information with other jurors, which is a separate offence.

"Anyone who ignores those warnings and violates the rules designed to create fair trials can expect to find themselves facing prosecution.”

The original disrupted trial ran from September 27 to October 13, 2016.

Two men were later found not guilty of sexually assaulting or inciting a girl to engage in sexual activity after a retrial in November 2016.