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pollyp23

Facebook, This And Other Forums: Admissable Evidence?

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I gather than Facebook comments cannot be used as admissable evidence (unless one is enticing rioting!), what is opinion of the Forum on whether posts on this and other Forums are admissable on a court of law?

 

What if, for example, I was in court on a charge of something that I had defended as being right and others had agreed with me. Could I bring posts on the subject to the attention of the Court and even call on members to defend my case?

 

Or visa versa?

 

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Facebook comments and photos are prima facie admissible in evidence, dependant on the facts of the case.

 

Likewise posts on Punternet could in certain circumstances be admissible. Your second paragraph isn't very clear. Printouts of posts wouldn't be admissible. As a basic rule you would need to know the identity of the other posters and call them to give evidence on your behalf.

 

The fact that a couple of posters on a forum share your view on a matter doesn't really prove much.

 

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Facebook comments and photos are prima facie admissible in evidence, dependant on the facts of the case.

 

Likewise posts on Punternet could in certain circumstances be admissible. Your second paragraph isn't very clear. Printouts of posts wouldn't be admissible. As a basic rule you would need to know the identity of the other posters and call them to give evidence on your behalf.

 

The fact that a couple of posters on a forum share your view on a matter doesn't really prove much.

Interesting, I always though FB comments weren't admissable as many of the profiles are false. One lives and learns!

 

I meant, for example, that if I supported some prisoners who had thrown, for example, acid in a convicted prisoners face and then encouraged other to do similar, would this support on this forum (and others) be evidence?

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Interesting, I always though FB comments weren't admissable as many of the profiles are false. One lives and learns!

 

I meant, for example, that if I supported some prisoners who had thrown, for example, acid in a convicted prisoners face and then encouraged other to do similar, would this support on this forum (and others) be evidence?

 

Obviously they have to prove who is behind a profile/username, but apart from that there's no bar to using it as evidence. It's used and can be used as evidence in all sorts of cases, from internet grooming, to inciting riots, to contempt of court (posting the identity of rape victims). Harassment. Making threats. Even controlling prostitution for gain/management of a brothel, if an agency/brothel had a facebook page.

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Hi, was there not case in 2011 of two numbskulls who tried to arrange a riot during the riots, they set up a facebook page, think the only people who replied were the boys and girls in blue, silly silly men.

As one of your other answers states, in cases of harresment/stalking, the likes of facebook can be used as evidence...very much so.

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Thanks for the answers boys and girls.

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A local guy up here set up a facebook page based around a fantasy world he created in which he was a terrorist.

 

He's in jail for the offence of Encouraging Terrorism as a result the images and posts he made.

Edited by Strawberry

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A local guy up here set up a facebook page based around a fantasy world he created in which he was a terrorist.

 

He's in jail for the offence of Encouraging Terrorism as a result the images and posts he made.

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In principle most things are admissible. The question is whether the prosecution could prove beyond reasonable doubt that it was you who made the relevant postings - and the defence for their part would seek to cast doubt upon this (Might it have been a friend who knew your password? A hacker who had accessed your account? etc. etc.)

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mainstream social network sites will let the authorities trace their members

 

I cant see Galahad being co=operative seeing he lives abroad and hosts PN abroad outside UK jurisdiction.

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Interesting, I always though FB comments weren't admissable as many of the profiles are false. One lives and learns!

 

I meant, for example, that if I supported some prisoners who had thrown, for example, acid in a convicted prisoners face and then encouraged other to do similar, would this support on this forum (and others) be evidence?

Another forum i am on,Pics and posts from there and fb have been used in a couple of prosecutions now.Also during quite a serious case involving one of its members the site owners actually got a warning about allowing the case to be discussed on the site.

The example you have given could be construed as incitement.Also ignore the advice about claiming your account was hacked etc as they'll be able to say where the account was accessed from.

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Why should it not be evidence?Electronic communications are like any other written documents, and are read and affect people in the same ways these days. Some people forget this and think they can post or write whatever they like be it in an SMS text, or on Facebook. They can't and it can all be traced back to the originator, in someway even via PAYG devices, registered or not.

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In principle most things are admissible. The question is whether the prosecution could prove beyond reasonable doubt that it was you who made the relevant postings - and the defence for their part would seek to cast doubt upon this (Might it have been a friend who knew your password? A hacker who had accessed your account? etc. etc.)

 

While many things are admissible as purported evidence, there are layers that in the punting context are rather relevant...

Unlike rioting etc, where almost invariably there's video, pics and/or police or civilian corroboration that cements use of internet postings etc, punting tends almost always (from an evidence perspective) to fall into another category (with exception of organized stings re trafficking- see below).

First up, in UK 'regular*' punting is legal, so for most part it's a moot point for any internet posts ( eg FRs) to be presented as evidence.

* In case of underage/trafficked sex workers, this takes on a different perspective, raising the spectre of statutory rape or trafficking complicity charges <afaik, although it's an extremely high hurdle for prosecution, UK allows for conviction of a person who 'knowingly' partakes of services from a trafficked sex worker & as such it's possible that net postings could be introduced in a court to pursue same.>

Some global context: I'm based in US where punting is totally illegal (outside of a few Nevada counties close to Las Vegas, <quick tourist point : Prostitution is not legal in the city of LV! > ). Few years back the Feds raided & shuttered (what had been) one of largest escort sites online- 'Escorts.com'.... there was some speculation that the Feds real target was agencies who used that site to promote trafficked/underage girls, but in reality this was primarily just a taxation drama (Feds extracted over $6M in fines) - no WGs nor clients were ever prosecuted despite literally tens of thousands of FRs on that erstwhile forum~ which speaks to a strange American irony;

Sex for sale is completely prohibited in the US....but the 'hearsay' defence appears to prevent convictions based on FRs etc...but this is not to suggest that solicitors don't try to use such things as leverage e.g. in divorce cases etc- but to date such material hasn't been used directly in an American Court ( bear with next paragraph to see why I'm 99.9% sure this is case.. & how it theoratically may relate to the UK).

And now the really juicy part~ ( because of Punting resonance a bunch of us scoured public & court records globally but this is only case found)....

Not quite sure where this landed, but in 2011 there was a prosecution brought in Romania that introduced Reviews (Field Reports) from a Punting Forum in Ireland as evidence...again, this was a trafficking case & the escorting aspect was peripheral ( they were not going after 'regular' johns) i.e. the Reviews are being used to try to prosecute the alleged Traffickers. One of the gents who's Reviews were introduced in the Romanian case had hundreds of FRs & tens of thousands of posts in a nation where P2P is legal).. the defence counsel tried to get the Reviews excluded on grounds of reliability but Prosecution made the case that if it is bogus/fiction, that gent had spent literally years building up this 'fake' persona.

This case wasn't going after guys who wrote the reviews but it introduced an EU legal precedent in terms of using Punting FRs in a legal prosecution...

Here's a link to the Romanian article which is garbled at best when translated on Google translate. When charging each lady with alleged prostitution, the Romanian prosecution lawyers quoted their Reviews on the Irish forum: http://www.observatorulph.ro/observatorulph/exclusiv/stenogramele-din-dosarul-lui-ghenosu-exclusiv-ii

(sorry This link now appears to be dead & it was in Romanian!)

As an investigative tool for punting related matters, Internet posts such as FRs seem to be fair game. A legal friend told me, in his opinion, FRs could certainly support a claim of probable cause for a British search warrant to be issued. And then one thing leads to another. The Crown leans on the John, "Oh come on, tell us what happened, we won't prosecute you. . . ." And then voila, the prosecution has a witness!!

Always keep your trap shut- if the filth stop you walking down the street & ask if you're carrying any drugs.."Just Say NO" ;->

Edited by FredDeHead

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surely it depends where the server is?  OK brit plod can get at stuff hosted here, or openly operating here like face book.  But how far would they get asking punternet or adultwork for ip addresses etc?  I think they would be told to eff off.  And without stuff like that I suspect an FR would not be evidence.

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.....there was a prosecution brought in Romania that introduced Reviews (Field Reports) from a Punting Forum in Ireland as evidence.........but it introduced an EU legal precedent in terms of using Punting FRs in a legal prosecution...

It may have set a precedent in Romania but in the UK as a precedent it ranks alongside a decision of a Sharia court in an Arab country or a Taliban tribal chief in Afghanistan. Completely irrelevant. EU precedents are made by the ECJ and not by a judge in Bucharest.

 

In E &W our rules of hearsay evidence are largely set out in the CJA2003. A printout of a field report posted by PunterMike2014 is nothing more than hearsay and even the worst lawyer on a very bad day is going to have no problem in getting it ruled inadmissible without PunterMike2014 standing up in the box confirming the contents.

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surely it depends where the server is?  OK brit plod can get at stuff hosted here, or openly operating here like face book.  But how far would they get asking punternet or adultwork for ip addresses etc?  I think they would be told to eff off.  And without stuff like that I suspect an FR would not be evidence.

Afaik absolutely correct, if it's some site hosted in Vanuatu good luck to the police tracking down somebody behind a screen name....

but that Escorts.com example I mentioned above was interesting- despite it's servers being hosted in Canada (ie outside US jurisdiction) they followed the money trail & when the people involved where then facing prison eveything became crystal clear...

in a 'low level' case a mainstream corporate site like FBook will sing like a canary & even if the target is offshore depending upon the circumstances, they can still be 'persuaded' to divulge confidential information esp if there's a revenue flow within the country that's making the investigation.

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It may have set a precedent in Romania but in the UK as a precedent it ranks alongside a decision of a Sharia court in an Arab country or a Taliban tribal chief in Afghanistan. Completely irrelevant. EU precedents are made by the ECJ and not by a judge in Bucharest.

 

In E &W our rules of hearsay evidence are largely set out in the CJA2003. A printout of a field report posted by PunterMike2014 is nothing more than hearsay and even the worst lawyer on a very bad day is going to have no problem in getting it ruled inadmissible without PunterMike2014 standing up in the box confirming the contents.

I broadly agree with most of what you outline with a few caveats:

 

My apologies... 'Precedent' in the common law legal sense is too strong a term to use-

Of course what happened has no binding in British Courts etc- but the fundamental novelty is the fact that Prostitution Reviews were admitted in a European court in a prosecution for first time. The ECJ arbitrates over EU law and  settles legal disputes between EU governments/institutions etc but we're speaking at cross purposes-  UK Courts can (& do) introduce concepts from other common-law jusrisdictions...Romania may not be in the same development tier as UK etc...but it aint exactly run by the Taliban.

 

Regarding the CJA2003, the equivalent exists in the US & the 1st Amendment ( Freedom of Speech) rachets it up even further meaning that FRs in almost all cases in isolation aren't worth a fig- but even there, when criminality is already established that defence goes out the window. ( An example in plainer English- if a punter saw a trafficked girl & wrote a FR, that in itself is legally worth nothing <presuming he didn't write that he knew she was being held against her will etc>- but if the Police were monitoring the trafficking operation and taped a phone conversation outlining the punter knew precisely what the circumstances where etc, that FR then becomes admissable supporting evidence.) Gather something similar applies in UK.

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surely it depends where the server is?  OK brit plod can get at stuff hosted here, or openly operating here like face book.  But how far would they get asking punternet or adultwork for ip addresses etc?  I think they would be told to eff off.  And without stuff like that I suspect an FR would not be evidence.

 

Precisely.

 

We all know what happened when HH asked Arnie to shut down PN.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8282626.stm

 

She'd obviously never heard of the First Amendment.

 

As regards AW, the person or people who own it do a good job of hiding their identities. The last that I heard was that the servers are in the Netherlands, billing's done through a Gibralter company and the registrant is in HK. Previously it was in Belize. Did anybody really actually believe that the owner was Alan Davies who had an office in Suite 254 166 North Front Street Belize City? 

 

As I recall the police were trying to trace the owner(s) of Adultwork when a prostitute was murdered a few years back and they wanted some information. Their investigations of the company structure drew a blank so they asked for contact information about the owners on the various punting fora.

 

As stated in the Irish Sunday World article posted by FredDH:

 

"Gardai have been unable to prosecute McCormick because it is difficult to prove where the website is updated as it uses computer servers in the UK and Russia".

 

 

Says it all really.

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Precisely.

 

We all know what happened when HH asked Arnie to shut down PN.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8282626.stm

 

She'd obviously never heard of the First Amendment.

LOL... yeah, as alluded to in post#13, the legal situation here in US leads to a truly ironic situation...

you can write absolutely anything you what, but unless you cross a line ( & that can be clearly proved) it can't be held against you.

Of course there's downsides to this e.g. it gives free reign to Holocaust Deniers, the KKK & other such wingnuts.

 

Interesting thread!

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LOL... yeah, as alluded to in post#13, the legal situation here in US leads to a truly ironic situation...

you can write absolutely anything you what, but unless you cross a line ( & that can be clearly proved) it can't be held against you.

Of course there's downsides to this e.g. it gives free reign to Holocaust Deniers, the KKK & other such wingnuts.

 

Interesting thread!

 

To me a true democracy is where you can say what you want without fear of prosecution.

 

while I think KKK and holocaust deniers are friutcases, i think we should defend their right to hold the views they do.  Anything else is totalitarian.

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To me a true democracy is where you can say what you want without fear of prosecution.

 

while I think KKK and holocaust deniers are friutcases, i think we should defend their right to hold the views they do.  Anything else is totalitarian.

I don't mean to divert this thread into a philosophical discussion on the merits of one system of politics over another and sorry for etymologically splitting hairs as I suspect I agree 100% with the direction of what I think you mean, just a observation:

 

Even in the US with the 1st Amd, there are some modest limits to free speech (You can't cry FIRE in a packed cinema for fun etc)- absence of any control whatsoever imho, can in itself be 'totalitarian' in sense of a total lack of any checks/balances. This is one of the (myriad) reasons that some aspects of US life are messed up, obvious example being the gun culture- the overarching libertarian principles lead to so many unintended consequences. As PJ.O'Rourke compared Libertarianism to salt- "A tiny pinch of it, used in the right places, improves things greatly. Too much kills everything."

 

The UK on balance steers a reasonably decent middle ground even if there are still too far many elements of the nanny state in place.

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