Woman fined for naming sex assault victim online
A WOMAN has been sentenced for publishing the name of a sexual assault victim after a relative was jailed for the offence.
The 28-year-old from Nottingham was found guilty after a trial at the city’s magistrates court.
She was conditionally discharged for a year and fined £200.
The court was told that she posted malicious messages on Facebook which identified the victim, despite knowing there was legislation in place protecting her anonymity. The woman showed a screen shot of the victim’s Snapchat account and wrote a post which included details identifying her, the court heard.
Her conviction followed the sentencing of her brother for sexually assaulting a teenage old girl.. Under the Sexual Offences Amendment Act, victims and alleged victims of sexual offences, including rape, are given lifetime anonymity.
This means that nothing should be published by anyone, including members of the public, which could lead to the victim or alleged victim being identified.
This ban includes publishing the victim’s name, address, name of educational establishment they attend, place where they work or any picture of them. In this case, the victim is also a child, so her anonymity is also automatically protected under the Children and Young Persons’ Act.
Detective Chief Inspector Pete Quinn, of Nottinghamshire Police’s public protection department, said the woman knew there was a court order in place banning the publication of any details which could identify the victim in the case.
“Despite this, she deliberately tried to discredit the victim by publicly identifying her using social media.
“This case shows that we continue to treat victims with respect, properly investigate crimes and do whatever we can to protect them from further abuse.
“We hope this case makes it clear that we will work tirelessly to secure convictions against those who take the law into their own hands and cause misery to innocent members of the public, both in person and via social media. We also hope it reminds members of the public that they should be very careful when posting comments publicly on social media sites, like Facebook. “Anyone who makes prejudicial comments during an active court case could also be found in contempt of court. The Contempt of Court Act applies to any publication, not just the mainstream media, so also includes members of the public using social media to comment on a live case.” He added: “We don’t expect people to be media law experts and we do not seek to deprive people from expressing their views but we need to remind people that there can be serious consequences for making inappropriate comments online, especially in relation to any court proceedings.”
She deliberately tried to discredit the victim by publicly identifying her using social media
Chief Inspector Peter Quinn