Defendants Learn That Naming Crime Victims On Twitter Is Not A Good Idea

Emotions run high on Twitter some days. We’re seeing it now with political posts in the United States, but we also see it during other times, like in response to closely watched court cases.

Sending out a less than thoughtful tweet in the heat of the moment can be professionally damaging. And, as some folks just learned: It can come with financial penalties and an “outing” as an ass.

We told you about Wales footballer, Ched Evans, being sentenced to five years after being found guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman, who was ‘too drunk to consent.’ The victim was then promptly put on trial via social media by fans who disagreed with the verdict.

You can read more about what was posted about her here, but it ranges from calling her a money-grubbing slut to suggesting folks find her address. As a result, “District Judge Andrew Shaw ordered the defendants [also named here] to pay the victim compensation of £624 each. The court was told a fine was the maximum penalty the charge could attract.”

According to The Virtual Lawyer, Steve Cornforth, “Their Defence was that they did not know it was against the law. Unfortunately that does not amount to a legal defence. If you publish unlawful material then you pay the consequences. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse.”

And in a time when bullying and stalker-esque behavior (by supposed adults) appears to be on the rise, with victims increasingly fighting back, this is advice that those prone to mob mentality should heed.

Have you witnessed this behavior online? What do you think of this court’s response?

(Angel/devil image from Shutterstock)