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Monday, June 13, 2005

Bloggers Beware

There is an intersting and timely piece in today's Herald concerning blog comments which might result in defamation and/or contempt of court charges. In particular, the article refers to recent comments about new charges brought against Rev Capil.

Media law expert Professor John Burrows said any comment stating an accused person is guilty breaks the law. He said this would almost certainly be contempt of court. He said the question is whether what is said could prejudice a fair trial, which could be the case if strong comment is made. Professor Burrows said he has seen plenty of comments on blogs which breach the law, and added that authors could face legal action if they are traced.

I'd have to say there have been numerous such comments on a number of blogs and one or two of them from people I thought would have been more circumspect.

Posted by Adolf Fiinkensein | 6/13/2005 01:08:00 pm


Blogger Cathy Odgers said...

Remember though Capill has already pleaded guilty to the first incident. We can say that he is a kiddie fiddling creep, or the like based on that so I don't see what the fuss is about.

What we can't do is:

1. Name Capill as the accused before the Court lifted suppression (this has already been done by a blogger).
2. Name the victim/s (but who would want to anyway).
3. State Capill is guilty of any of the other charges from the second wave. Again, we can use "allegedly" as they are only allegations at this stage. If you listen to the News on TV the word "allegedly" is used frequently and for this reason.

It is not hard - just use a bit of imagination.

6/13/2005 02:08:00 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

Well then Professor Burrows, if you have seen "...plenty of comments on blogs which breach the law, and added that authors could face legal action if they are traced." then name them.

Let's see who these people are, and let's see if their blogs are really illegal.

Otherwise stop making assertions which cast blame onto all bloogers.


6/13/2005 03:37:00 pm  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

We learn from this that Professor Burrows "allegedly" reads lots of blogs. Go prof!

Good point though GMAN.

Step one from the academics, who are notoriously communistic: Make sweeping statements to start the idea ALL bloggers are acting illegally (note the clever counter using a sweeping statement).

Step two: Shut down blogs, unless specially certified. Certification = toeing the line.

Step three: Declare the country part of the People's Democratic Republic of China.

Step four: Provide a free subscription to Russia Today TV.

Gosh, havemn't we just finished blogging about all this? Deja vu.

6/13/2005 04:07:00 pm  
Blogger Murray said...

I'd be more interested if a lawyer who had violated a court order and published selected information supporting his client had actually been charged.

We're at the bottom end of the food chain.

Having said that as a matter of policy we don't publish that sort of info anyway.

Supression orders exist for a reason and it's not for anyone to take unilateral action because it doesn't suit them or they don't like it.

Yes, I knew Capill had been charged, no, I didn't publish it untill name supression had been lifted.

Fairly elementry common sense.

6/13/2005 04:46:00 pm  

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