In UK, while a trial is ongoing, there is an automatic gag order to prevent interference from information getting out to the general public. Its to avoid juries from being swayed by media. In the UK, they do not have "potential" jurists...they get picked, they are on the jury.
In the US, we examine potential jurists. Jurist getting picked do not automatically serve..they go through a vetting process where lawyers can move for the person to be eliminated from the jury pool.
So, while a trial is ongoing, in the UK, no one can talk about it. In the US, no issue, we are free because we can dismiss a jurist from serving.
When does a "trial" start and end? A trial starts when the prosecutor brings charges and ends after sentencing is complete.
Now Tommy wanted comment from these convicted defendants (they were going to court for the sentencing hearing ~ maybe taken into custody immediately and Tommy would not have been able to ask them any questions and report on their responses because they would be behind bars).
I would imagine that many OJ Simpson jurists just stopped watching the news because the OJ trial was covered everyday by the media. In the UK I don't think a jurist would shy away from the news because they can't report on a trial until it was over.
So you are a jurist in the UK. Turn on the news (or this guy's live blog) while having your crappy British breakfast and saw the convicted defendants act terribly and you need to sentence him in a few hours. Certainly might influence your decision.
So, the UK deals with what a jurist can hear before the end of a trial differently..they assume that any news you hear would affect you, a jurist. We don't have that degree of jury persuasion being assumed - I guess if a guy was convicted any you were going to sentence the guy and you told the judge you saw as a US jurist, the judge might ask if it will affect your sentencing and, if you said no, you might continue your work.
So the guy was found in contempt and it activated a prior contempt order that he was on probation for. I think if he had not the prior conviction he would not be going to prison. But he did. And he went to prison.
Even some lawyers don't know that a trial is not over until sentencing is complete as I have seen some appeals filed before the defendant is sentenced and the court rejected the appeal because the appeal was filed before the trial had ended. Clearly Tommy did not know that the trial was not completed yet. Sucks to be ignorant. You pay a price for ignorance sometimes.