Malicious Communications Act 2003

Yesterday Darren Laverty @drlavertyx on Twitter, had a resounding victory in Wrexham Magistrates Court when he saw the man that had called him “vile” names on the internet convicted for doing so. It sets a precedent of sorts where social media is concerned in terms of what is or isn’t freedom of speech and when the line is crossed.

The shot that has been fired very clearly across the bough is this. You can no longer go around calling people “rapists” “paedophiles” paedophile supporters” and such appalling labels online without sanction. It IS an offence as well as being offensive.

For far too long now, those of us who “campaign” for nothing more than the truth, have been called names. In fact even those qualified to give a legal commentary about these issues are also labelled, just for having an opinion based on the law. Fair enough, name calling is part of what happens when you put your head above the parapet. However it is no longer just name calling.

Amongst the so called “child abuse campaigners” it has become the norm to attack anyone questioning their actions by using what can only be described as terror tactics. By calling somebody a paedophile or paedophile supporter, they are maliciously attempting to get anyone reading the alternative view to believe that it is being written by child offenders. Given what happened to Bijan Ibrahimi who was brutally murdered just because people thought he was a Paedophile, it is not only vile, it is extremely dangerous and in my view, is tantamount to inciting violence.

There has been violence attached to this sort of false allegation. Not violence that leaves a physical mark. Psychological violence, which of course is the intent of those that make these false accusations. To terrorise the person who is questioning the truth of what they are saying into remaining silent. Nobody wants to be called a child abuser.

Darren posts it’s “been a ride”. Almost glibly. Having walked in Darren’s shoes, I’ll bet it has, not one that he would want to repeat I am guessing. Darren is not a “victim”, he doesn’t like that word, he sees himself as a strong individual who survived his appalling childhood, it defines him, he has, against the odds, overcome his upbringing. Gaining a degree in criminology and successfully bringing up his children in a strong, bonded family. He sets an example of what can be achieved against the odds.

He is going to swear at me when he reads this, I know it. But, the facts are that the type of behaviour undertaken by this person has affected him, he would not have pursued a prosecution if it hadn’t. Plus he has a degree that absolutely qualifies him to assess the impact on himself and his family and he is no fool. It will have affected him Just as it affects me when I am called a child abuser or paedophile or pro paedophile for challenging people. I am no “victim” either. But it gets tiresome and wearying having to gather the evidence of what is being said and pushing at often closed doors to get somebody to do something always looking over my shoulder, just in case one of the lunatic supporters of the people that post these disgusting things is around, made all the worse because they hide behind aliases, meaning you never know what they look like or who they are. It does impact. You become extra cautious.

Trying to stop this when you don’t play the “victim” card whilst presenting things has its own set of problems. Being a dignified “victim” of a crime doesn’t make you any less a “victim”. Coral and Paul Jones also demonstrate that same quiet dignity when discussing their case. It makes them all the more compelling in their quest to get the laws changed. It does not lessen the impact of what happened.

I take my hat off to Darren for continuing in his pursuit to see justice done for himself and his family. I would say at some cost. I also want to thank him for providing a means upon which others can also put a stop to the persistent relentless attacks on them. Trail blazing.

It is not acceptable for anyone to call somebody a child rapist, a paedophile or a pro paedophile advocate or any other name or label that is not true. It is dangerous, it is insulting and furthermore it is, as was said in court “vile”. A strong word that should convey to others how the magistrates felt about what had been written. It conveys their horror.

One last small but relevant thing that came out of court yesterday relates to the registrants of blogs or websites. They too will be prosecuted. Some of the main protagonists have blogs or web sites registered under other people’s names, not their own. It makes no difference. The poster and the registrant are equally responsible. In Darren’s case it just so happened he was both.

You have been warned.







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