Theodora Dallas, 34, shared information that she found online about the defendant with other jurors.

Barry Medlock had been on trial for GBH at Luton Crown Court in July 2011. But when Dallas told her fellow jurors that she had discovered Medlock had previously been accused and acquitted of rape, the case collapsed.

Information about a defendant’s previous convictions and arrests is not permitted to be communicated to jurors during a criminal trial.

Three judges at the High Court in London ruled that the psychology lecturer at the University of Bedfordshire should serve three months in prison and the remainder of the term on licence.

Lord Judge said Dr Dallas had “deliberately disobeyed” the trial judge’s instructions not to search the internet.

Of the sentencing, he said: “Misuse of the internet by a juror is always a most serious irregularity and an effective custodial sentence is virtually inevitable.”

The judge also rejected Dr Dallas’s plea for leniency, insisting that she knew “perfectly well” that the trial judge had directed her and the other members of the jury “in unequivocal terms” to not conduct internet research into anything in connection with the trial.

Defendant Medlock was accused of torturing a man by beating him, setting him on fire and pouring boiling water over him, the Daily Mail reports.

He was re-tried in October and jailed, the High Court heard.