Tweet with Caution, Text Carefully

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Twitter caution

There have been some very recent high profile incidents of people tweeting or messaging threateningly or aggressively. The recent social media group attack on the McCann’s is one example as well as Caroline Criado-Perez, who campaigned for the images of women to be on British banknotes, being threatened with rape. Both of these examples have led to the police investigating and criminal prosecution.

This demonstrates that social media offences are becoming higher profile and widespread. Given the ever growing presence of social media and the passing of new laws, such as those concerning the posting of revenge porn/naked photos of exs, this is an issue which will only increase.

On top of this, more established communication platforms such as text, emails and snail mail, are still relevant to existing laws and, again, can lead to criminal prosecution or restraining instruments such as Allegations of Harassment and Anti-Molestation Orders. Whereas some of these may not show up on an Enhanced CRB check, some will and hinder your job opportunities.

Bizarrely, for such new communication channels there are some very old laws against which the police can prosecute, such as, making a threat to kill (s. 16 Offences Against the Person Act 1861) or, a newer one, sending letters, etc, with intent to cause distress of anxiety (s1(1) Malicious Communications Act 1988). Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 covers inappropriate use of a public communications network and grossly offensive or indecent messages. The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 also applies.

Most people may not know that the simple sharing or re-tweeting of a message could constitute an offence and that 2 or more messages sent by social media can amount to harassment. The prevalence of and ease with which social media is used can get people into trouble without them being fully aware of the issue.

Taking these issues into account, in any criminal case you must get the best representation you can, so that they are resolve to achieve the best possible outcome. At O’Garras you can be assured of our service, professionalism and commitment in this regard.

If you want to discuss this article further, we’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions. Join us on Twitter: @OGarras