QLD Police Statement Posted on Social Media?

Discussion in 'Criminal Law Forum' started by Charlieharper, 6 December 2018.

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  1. Charlieharper

    Charlieharper Member

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    This was a criminal case for assault, that’s now been finalised. No charges were laid and the accused was put on a good behaviour bond of 6months.

    The accused has a copy of the police statement the victim made and has posted this online for public viewing.

    This is in QLD.

    Is it legal to put the statement online?

    The victim's details aren’t visible, just their dot points of “history with the accused” and “details of the assault”. The information doesn’t have any intimate or private information however it’s obviously apart of a closed criminal case.

    I’m wanting to know if the statement is allowed to be posted and/or if extracts of it are allowed.

    Thank you!
     
  2. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    Without a few more details, it is hard to answer definitively... So armed with that I'll give you some help.

    It is a dumb idea. Why?

    1. It could be a breach of the good behaviour bond, but without reading it I could not be sure. If it was a breach, then yup posting it could cause you a world of pain, including seeing you re-sentenced over the original charges.

    2. It could constitute harassment of the victim and even with the details removed, if the victim were aware of it and brought it to the attention of the police then it could quite reasonably be seen as harassment and contribute towards another visit to the magistrate.

    3. It is a dumb idea. Going for a job down the track? Employer finds the thing and questions giving you a job as a result.

    4. It is a dumb idea - why? because it is a dumb idea... What is the purpose here? Show of how badass you are? Show that you got away with it?

    Some parts of your life do not need to be shared on Facebook. I'd suggest this is one of them.
     
  3. Charlieharper

    Charlieharper Member

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    Thank you! I’m a friend of the victim in this situation, so yes I agree it’s a dumb idea but without knowing it’s against the law there’s not much we can do. I also don’t know the terms of their good behaviour bond but we didn’t think about connecting that with this instance, so that’s a good point !
     
  4. DMLegal

    DMLegal Well-Known Member

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    Can you clarify: (1) How were no charges laid yet the Accused was given a Good Behaviour Bond? (2) How you/the Victim linked the post to the statement made by the Victim - i.e. did the Victim just recognise the statement or was the Victim explicitly or implicitly (my ex-husband/wife etc.) referred to in the post.
     
  5. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    OK so the Facebook page must not have privacy settings? Or they're limited. I'd be talking to the police, especially if your friend feels intimidated by the behaviour.
     
  6. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer
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    Apart from anything else, and
    subject to many ifs, buts, variables, unlesses, and exceptions,
    the person who publishes the material
    (yes, posting stuff to social media is indeed "publishing")
    is at risk of defaming the person named in the order
    (yes, even if the name hidden).
    And in that sense, it could be unlawful, yes.

    And that's before we even consider offences like using a carriage service
    (ie the phone system and related technology) to harass.

    As to being put on a bond without charges being laid,
    when you say it that way, it makes no sense.
     
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  7. Scruff

    Scruff Well-Known Member

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    Defamation only applies if the statements are false. If he is simply stating things that did actually occur, then it's not defamatory.

    Also criminal proceedings are generally public, therefore anything that occurred can be freely reported unless there are supression orders in place, or other specific orders to that effect. If you don't know the terms of the bond, then there's no real way to know at this point if that's the case.

    In regard to the post itself, in these circumstances "context" is very important. By that I mean that if he was simply letting people know what happened at court, then there is unlikely to be any issue. However if the overall context (including other published statements) indicate that he is trying to incite a particular negative reaction towards the victim, then I would recommend that it be reported to the Police. In that case, there would be a whole range of possible offences.

    If there is an issue, then excluding names and other identifying information from the post won't save him any grief. If you assume for a moment that he never told anyone that he was charged, or went to court, or was found guilty, then no-one would know that he was even involved in such a matter. So by publishing this information, it clearly shows that his "intended audience" already knows what the post is about and who it is referring to. It wouldn't make any sense or serve any purpose to publish this kind of information otherwise.

    I found that odd too. The only conclusion that I can come up with is that the OP meant that no conviction was recorded - which I find rather odd for an assault case. Maybe it was a first offence.
     
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  8. DMLegal

    DMLegal Well-Known Member

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    At the risk of being pedantic I thought it was worth a mention that defamatory material/content does not need to be 'false', rather it is a defence to an action in defamation that the material/content was substantially true.
     
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  9. Scruff

    Scruff Well-Known Member

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    Apologies, I worded that badly. To knowingly make false statements about another person would be defamatory.
     
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  10. Scruff

    Scruff Well-Known Member

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    Actually, a quick question: Other than balance of probablilities versus beyond reasonable doubt, is there any other difference between civil and criminal defamation?
     
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