Wednesday, 25 May 2011

We the Tweeple, could Twitter become a threat to the justice system?

"During the row over privacy injunctions, critics have emphasised that it's near impossible to stop people revealing information on Twitter. But what if people use it to name victims in rape cases or reveal information from court that could see trials abandoned?

Twitter has 200 million registered accounts worldwide and adds more than 460,000 new accounts every day."

"While video and audio recording has long been barred from courts in England and Wales. But Twitter has already been given a foothold in judicial proceedings."

"In December the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, issued new guidance on Twitter, allowing for its use in English and Welsh courts, at the discretion of trial judges.

The decision was taken following pressure by journalists and activists covering the extradition hearing of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange."

"Lord Judge said: "The use of an unobtrusive, hand-held, virtually silent piece of modern equipment for the purposes of simultaneous reporting of proceedings to the outside world as they unfold in court is generally unlikely to interfere with the proper administration of justice."

"He added: "The danger to the administration of justice is likely to be at its most acute in the context of criminal trials, where... information posted on, for instance, Twitter about inadmissible evidence may influence members of a jury."

"Everyone in a court hears the identity of rape victims, but this cannot be published or otherwise revealed outside court."

Read more here on the BBC:

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