Those who post abusive messages on Twitter and other social media sites have been warned by the British Government’s most senior law officer. Attorney General Dominic Grieve, the government’s chief legal advisor in England and Wales, has warned that he would not hesitate in taking action against some specific cases.
Dominic Grieve spoke out following a series of high-profile court cases involving postings made on the micro-blogging site. Recently a student who mocked Bolton FC football star Fabrice Muamba on Twitter after he collapsed with a heart attack was jailed for 56 days after admitting a racially aggravated public order offence
Another message, by a blogger who invited followers to put excrement through a local councillor’s letterbox, led to a community sentence of 80 hours of unpaid work. At least, 17 arrests have been made in connection with the alleged naming on Twitter of the victim in footballer Ched Evans’ rape case.
Attorney General Dominic Grieve said, “If somebody goes down to the pub with printed sheets of paper and hands it out, that’s no different than if somebody goes and does a tweet. The idea that you have immunity because you’re an anonymous tweeter is a big mistake.”
“The idea that you have immunity because you’re an anonymous tweeter is a big mistake. I don’t want to take action but if I think it is necessary to prevent crime, such as racially aggravated harassment, then I won’t hesitate to do it,” Dominic Grieve added.
The warning comes after Dominic Grieve warned last July over use of social networking websites such as Facebook could threaten the existence of jury trials in Britain.