Man Fined For Facebook Post (UK)

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by IgnatiusTheKing, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. IgnatiusTheKing macrumors 68040

    IgnatiusTheKing

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    #1
    I think this decision sets an alarming precedent and I'm baffled as to why this is even considered a criminal matter. Does the "victim" get any of the fine money as restitution of a sort or does it just go into the government coffers?
     
  2. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #2
    Are you British? Obviously not or you would know that the UK has far stricter libel standards than the US. There is no freedom of speech law in the UK. There's nothing new or alarming here.
     
  3. IgnatiusTheKing thread starter macrumors 68040

    IgnatiusTheKing

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    #3
    Nope, not British. Is libel a criminal offense (offence) in the UK?

    As for it not being new, the spokeswoman for the Magistrate said that she had never seen a case like it before.
     
  4. Queso macrumors G4

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    #4
    Libel and Slander are both offences under civil law here. The "injured party" has to prove that the claims were damaging, and if so it is then up to the person who made the claims to prove them true. The only thing new with this case is that a message board is the medium used.
     
  5. IgnatiusTheKing thread starter macrumors 68040

    IgnatiusTheKing

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    #5
    Okay. So then does the fine go the "injured party" or to the government?
     
  6. Queso macrumors G4

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    #6
    Normally the injured party receives it, however it seems in this case the comment transgressed the obscenity laws so your guess is as good as mine. I would have thought the majority if not all went to the ex-girlfriend as it's such a small amount.
     
  7. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #7
    As it was handled by the CPS, it must have been a criminal case rather than a civil one, so any fine would go to the Crown. The ex would have to sue separately for damages to see any recompense. I imagine it would take a lot of front to try to prove that she was not whatever he called her...

    I can see how "menacing" or "threatening" could be a criminal offence, but being rude should certainly not be.
     
  8. Queso macrumors G4

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    #8
    I was under the impression they had abolished criminal defamation now.
     
  9. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #9
    Are we talking about defamation or "menacing"? I see nothing about defamation.
     
  10. Queso macrumors G4

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    #10
    Ah I see. I was reading this as defamation, but you're right. It's not there.
     
  11. northy124 macrumors 68020

    northy124

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    #11
    Yeah she hasn't, but I am sure this has happened before only not via something like FaceBook :)
     
  12. IgnatiusTheKing thread starter macrumors 68040

    IgnatiusTheKing

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    #12
    This is why I thought the result of the case was alarming. It's not clear what, exactly, was posted, but it sounds like it was "insulting" rather than "threatening" so I just don't see how it's a criminal matter. Obviously, I'm no specialist on British law, but doesn't being fined by the government (no matter the amount) for calling someone a name seem unjust?

     
  13. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #13
    Yeah, as far as I can tell (the article is very oblique as to the actual contents of the messages), this person basically called his ex an obscene word. I understand the idea of UK libel and slander laws, but this seems extreme to me also (although the fine seems fairly small).
     
  14. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #14
    For your information:

    http://www.freebeagles.org/articles/malicious_calls.html#2b
     
  15. IgnatiusTheKing thread starter macrumors 68040

    IgnatiusTheKing

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    #15
    Thanks for the info, skunk. Amazing that someone can get 12 months in prison for causing "harassment, alarm or distress to another person on at least two occasions."

    I'm curious, if Britain has no freedom of speech law as Ugg suggested, what does this refer to?

     
  16. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

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    #16
    I foresee a rash of solicitors rushing to schoolyards all over Britain with tape recorders at the ready.
     
  17. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #17
    The UK is bound by free speech clauses in both the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and EU legislation, as well as a presumption of freedom of expression in Common Law.

    In the absence of a written constitution of our own setting out a set of principles, we are guided by customary usage. Personally, I think a written constitution is long overdue.
     
  18. MacDawg macrumors Core

    MacDawg

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    #18
    If one can be sued for calling someone a name on Facebook, I wonder what the odds are someone could be prosecuted for the some of the name calling that goes on in the PRSI?
     
  19. niuniu macrumors 68020

    niuniu

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    #19
    It's a natural progression. Here was the first case involving text messaging in 2000. I'm all for it, look at the US cases where messages on SN sites led victims to suicide.

    http://www.out-law.com/page-1123

    It probably wouldn't fit the legal requirements. I've never seen anything obscene etc on site, though I haven't been here that long.
     
  20. Denarius macrumors 6502a

    Denarius

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    #20
    Yes it is a criminal offence, provided you're rich enough to launch a prosecution.
     
  21. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #21
    Nonsense, it's a criminal offence, not a civil one, so the cost of prosecution is borne by the state.
     
  22. niuniu macrumors 68020

    niuniu

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    #22
    The surcharge goes to a govt. fund and the victim can apply for criminal injury compensation, but it's not the magistrate who decides that applications merit, it's done outside of the court. The punitive fines also go to the govt. though I'm not sure how they direct it, maybe goes to the local council? You'll also see a judge order damages to be paid in a magistrates court, these are usually smaller fines though, maybe for scratching someone's vehicle that cost a couple hundred pounds or such.
     
  23. Denarius macrumors 6502a

    Denarius

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    #23
    When has the crown ever borne the costs for a libel prosecution? Actually on further thought, it's a civil offence rather than a criminal offence.
     
  24. niuniu macrumors 68020

    niuniu

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    #24
    You're both right, no point arguing. You can bring both a civil or criminal libel case...
     
  25. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #25
    This is not a libel prosecution.
     

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