Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Well, Well, Well, Small World, Eh?

After the recent discussion about Web 'crime', what should I have on my list today, but a case involving Facebook.

I can't say anything about it of course, other than to say that whoever wrote the case summary, and the CPS prosecutor had no idea at all how Facebook works.

15 comments:

  1. "whoever wrote the case summary, and the CPS prosecutor had no idea at all."

    Point made at that point surely...

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  2. Case dismissed then.

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  3. I would have thought EBay was a better police target than Facebook. That seems to be where a lot of low-value stolen goods end up.

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  4. I think we need to start saying specifically, certainly in the youth court and probably in adult as well, that if there is a no contact bail condition it means no contact of any sort, including on Facebook, twitter etc. Most of our customers are not the sharpest knife in the drawer, or we wouldn't be seeing them, and I doubt they understand just being told, "no contact means any sort including by phone or message directly or indirectly". I'm sure lots of them don't get 'indirectly'.

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  5. I always spell it out, and have done so for some years. I have a bit of patter about email, text, FB, Twitter and all and make sure that it is understood, then I go on to spell out the consequences of a breach.

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    1. Me too, BS: and once got in reply 'well, that's OK - I can't read or write!'

      Baldybeak

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    2. SouthLondonJP3 August 2012 20:55

      Me three - as a Twitter user I know how good and bad it can be

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  6. 'Consequences of a breach'. If my experiences of Magistrates courts are anything to go by, that means rebail with the same or less stringent conditions.

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  7. That's certainly not my experience.

    When I deal with a breach my starting point, after deciding that bail is even still appropriate, is that if the conditions already imposed didn't work, what else can we add to ensure compliance?

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  8. Except in very, very minor breaches (eg a couple of minutes late returning for a curfew on one or two occasions) I have never, ever rebailed on the same conditions let alone less rigorous ones. Defs are warned what will happen if they breach a condition, which must serve a purpose, and if we do not follow up on that threat, then we shouldn't be sitting in court.

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  9. It has to be said that the CPS often accept a small breach and do not ask for any more than the previous conditions. It's still a bench decision, but if the CPS and the police think that a rebail is appropriate (especially after the def has spent nasty hours in a cell) that can be persuasive.

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    1. It all depends of course, as ever, but like Bystander I can recall cases where the CPS and the bench are satisfied that the bail conditions still meet their purpose, especially when such additional clarification is provided (and it would indeed be better to do so when the condition was first set out), and have allowed them to stand. I can even think of instances where an unworkable condition has been relaxed, especially where no fault attaches to the def. We do need to focus on the purpose of bail, and remember that conditions have to address a perceived risk. If that risk can be addressed in a different way, so be it.

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  10. Interested Party2 August 2012 20:01

    In over 12 years plying my trade as an advocate, in fairness, I have yet to see someone breach their bail and be admitted to less stringent conditions.

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  11. I *once* saw a defendent re-bailed on slightly less stringent conditions, but there were special circumstances.

    The original conditions meant that he was doomed either to be in breach of a condition not to go within a certain distance of the victim's home, or in breach of the condition to reside at his own home address. The original conditions had been set buy the police, and the possiblity of a clash had been raised by his solicitor but overridden by the police officer.

    It was a very odd case and he was subsequently aquitted after submitting 'no case to answer'. There were later disciplinary proceedings against the police officer involved, who turned out to have been having an affair with the 'victim' (who was the defendent's ex-wife) and to have lied about it.

    But other than that, I've never seen it either.

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  12. Strangely enough, today an admitted breach of curfew brought the request from defence to rebail with shorter hours of curfew!!. Not granted by the way

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