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What Happens if You Use Facebook to Publically Shame Someone?

The recent prosecution of a local Ipswich man serves as a timely reminder that we all need to give second thought to posts we might put on Facebook. I am sure that just about every suburb has a community Facebook page called something like “[insert suburb name] Residents” or “Community Watch” where people can report their noisy neighbours, or someone who might drive over the curb.

In 2016 Mr Robert Newburn put a post on Facebook  group called Rip Offs Beware List Ipswich and Logan that used phrases including “a total nut job” and “sicco bitch from hell” when speaking of his dealings with a woman and the European model car she drove.

Although Mr Newburn was remorseful and regretful for his post, and had immediately deleted it, the Police had still charged him for using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence – a breach of the Criminal Code Act.

This Act provides that if a person commits such an offence, the maximum penalty is 3 years imprisonment. Fortunately for Mr Newburn no prison sentence was imposed and he was given a fine of $150.00.

Often the writers of post such as this do not fear any repercussions for their comments when first written, but everyone should start giving more thought to the things they write on Facebook.

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