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Anorak | Ched Evans rape supporters fined paltry sum for naming victim on Facebook and Twitter

Ched Evans rape supporters fined paltry sum for naming victim on Facebook and Twitter

by | 5th, November 2012

HOW much does it cost to tweet or Facebook the name of a rape victim? Answer: £624. Each of the nine who tweeted the name of a woman raped by former Sheffield United footballer Ched Evans must pay the victim £624.

Evans was jailed for five years back in April.

The nine who thought it good idea to identify a rape vicim are: Evans’s cousin Gemma Thomas, Craig McDonald, 26, a 25-year-old biology school teacher called Hollie Price, Michael Ashton, 21, Benjamin Davies, 27; David Cardwell, 25, Paul Devine, 26 (pictured); Dominic Green, 23; and Shaun Littler, 22.

Gemma Thomas, 18, (pictured) said the rape victim was a “money grabbing slag” and a “dirty s*****r”. Cardwell called the woman a “f***ing whore”.

They were all charged with publishing material likely lead members of the public to identify the complainant in a rape case, contrary to the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992.

So. Publishing the name of a rape victim on twitter or Facebook is a criminal offence. Of course it is. But it will set you back just £624.

Compare that to damages given to libel victims. Might Evans’ rape victim sue for damages? Can she sue Twitter and Facebook? In March 2012, Mr Justice Eady ruled in the High Court that Google could not be held responsible for any libels published on its Blogger.com platform.

Google argued that it was not the publisher of the material in question but merely a neutral service provider and had no control over the content of blogs on Blogger.com. It had no way of knowing whether material posted was true or not, and said it could not reasonably be expected to determine the truth or falsity of comments and allegations made by bloggers…

On the issue of whether Google was a publisher, Mr Justice Eady said: “It is no doubt often true that the owner of a wall which has been festooned, overnight, with defamatory graffiti could acquire scaffolding and have it all deleted with whitewash. That is not necessarily to say, however, that the unfortunate owner must, unless and until this has been accomplished, be classified as a publisher. It seems to me to be a significant factor in the evidence before me that Google Inc is not required to take any positive step, technically, in the process of continuing the accessibility of the offending material, whether it has been notified of a complainant’s objection or not.

“In those circumstances, I would be prepared to hold that it should not be regarded as a publisher, or even as one who authorises publication, under the established principles of the common law. As I understand the evidence its role, as a platform provider, is a purely passive one.”

But Blogger can turn off the blog it operates whenever it wants, or restrict access. Same for Twitter. Same for Facebook. It’s not a wall covered in unwelcome graffiti. It’s a wall that needs graffiti to make it valid and profitable.

Who owns the words?

What if the victim were rich enough to hire top lawyers? Rich enough to know judges on a personal level?

On the matter of rape, George Carlin explained:

Picture Porky Pig raping Elmer Fudd. See, hey why do you think they call him “Porky,” eh? I know what you’re going to say. “Elmer was asking for it. Elmer was coming on to Porky. Porky couldn’t help himself, he got a hard-on, he got horny, he lost control, he went out of his mind.” A lot of men talk like that. A lot of men think that way. They think it’s the woman’s fault. They like to blame the rape on the woman. Say, “she had it coming, she was wearing a short skirt.” These guys think women ought to go to prison for being cock teasers. Don’t seem fair to me.

Such are the facts.



Posted: 5th, November 2012 | In: Reviews Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink