Originally posted 2013-05-07 12:32:45.
By Soh-Yeon Lee | amdlawgroup.com
The recent imprisonment of Neil Harkins and Dean Liddle looks into how the government implements internet law to enforce court decisions.
In 1993, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson were sentenced life in prison for the murder of James Bulger. Venables and Thompson were 10-years-old when they tortured and killed Bulger, aged two. However, they were released from prison after seven years with new identities.
Despite a global ban on any publication revealing Venables and Thompson’s identities, Harkins and Liddle posted photos of the killers as adults onto the social media sites Twitter and Facebook. Harkins and Liddle were each sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for 15 months.
The serious risk of harm or death to people who are, correctly or incorrectly, identified as the two men was addressed on behalf of the public’s interest.
This decision demonstrates the far-reaching consequences of online actions, especially, for being in contempt of court. And Harkins and Liddle’s case illustrates enforcement of law in the Internet age.
On the 20th anniversary of Bulger, several people went onto post information about Venables and Thompson, and the court is pending its decision on prosecuting the other individuals.