People who named the complainant in the Belfast rape trial on Twitter are now facing investigation by the PSNI.
The divisive role of social media has come centre stage, following yesterday’s acquittal of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding, and two of their friends. Paddy Jackson’s solicitor Joe McVeigh says social media commentary ‘infected’ the trial on many occasions, and thinks the police and the court authorities in the north need to urgently address the problem.
The trial attracted a barrage of comment on Twitter and other platforms.
Some spoke in support of the complainant with the hashtag I believe her.
Others posted derogatory comments about the woman, and a few went as far as naming her.
Detective Chief Superintendent Paula Hilman says under Northern Ireland law, that is an offence.
She said: “We heard the judge commenting on the social media coverage surrounding this case that any identification of the complainant will be investigated.”