Feeds

First 'Facebook harassment' defendant cleared

Friend request not proved

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

A Birmingham man has been cleared of harassing his ex-girlfriend over Facebook in the first prosecution to specifically cite the social networking website.

Michael Hurst, 33, of Edgbaston, was accused of harassing Sophie Sladden under the 1997 Harassment Act.

Magistrates cleared the theatrical set builder yesterday, saying prosecutors had not proven that he used a Facebook friend request to harass his former partner.

Chairwoman Catherine Taylor said: "We are of the view the Facebook incident has not been proven by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt. We therefore have to dismiss the charge."

Sladden had told the court that Hurst's alleged attempts to contact her via Facebook had frightened her. "It affected my social and my work life, my personal life and my emotional health," The Birmingham Mail reports she said.

The defence argued that by joining the site, she had invited people to get in touch. "You put yourself on Facebook so anyone in the world could have tried to contact you," Howard Joy said.

"And if you did not want them to contact you, you could have just said 'no' to their request."

In his evidence, Hurst said he joined Facebook to look at Christmas party photos, not to contact Sladden. "I looked at the pictures and when I clicked on their names their profile pages opened up. Some of those people were Sophie's friends as well. I didn’t go looking for her," he said

The prosecution said Hurst had previously been cautioned in November 2007 for continually contacting Sladden.

Last year, a Buckinghamshire man was jailed after a Facebook friend request he made violated an existing restraining order. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.