Two men have been ordered to pay more than £1,000 between them after being convicted of naming a sexual assault victim on Facebook.
The men, who are aged 43 and 35 but who can’t be named for legal reasons, appeared for sentencing at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (5 February 2019) having pleaded guilty an offence under Section 5 of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act.
The men named the victim in a case where the suspect was convicted of five years for three counts of indecent assault. They also published address and workplace details making the victim identifiable.
Under the law, victims and alleged victims of sexual offences, including rape, are given lifetime anonymity.
This means that nothing should be published by anyone, including members of the public, which could be likely to lead to the victim or alleged victim being identified.
This ban includes publishing the victim’s name, address, name of educational establishment they attend, place where they work or any picture of them.
The 43-year-old man was handed a £140 fine, ordered to pay £250 compensation to the victim, a £30 victim surcharge and £85 costs.
The 35-year-old man received a £290 fine, ordered to pay £250 compensation to the victim, a £30 victim surcharge and £85 costs.
Detective Constable Louise Donderici said: “These mens’ actions were malicious and have caused the victim a lot of distress and anxiety.
“I hope this serves as a reminder to members of the public that they should be very careful when posting comments publicly on social media sites like Facebook.
“We don’t expect people to be law experts and we do not seek to deprive people from expressing their views but we need to remind people that there can be serious consequences for making inappropriate comments online, especially in relation to any court proceedings.”