Several people from the Wrexham area could be expecting a knock on the door from North Wales Police after publishing the name of the woman raped by footballer Ched Evans on social network site Twitter.
After seeing something pop up on our @wrexham twitter feed we warned our followers last night: “North Wales Police investigating & collating info on those naming victim in Ched Evans trial. We can see 3 from Wrexham. Dont do it #illegal”
DCI Steve Williams said “North Wales Police are aware of reports of comments on social media sites and are collating all relevant information which is currently being reviewed. As and when criminal offences are identified on such websites they will be dealt with robustly and arrest made if appropriate and the offenders will be brought to justice. We find this to be profoundly disturbing and are determined to seek out those responsible.”
He went on to say “I would advise people who post such status and tweets to consider the implications of their action and those who add comments to appreciate that they may be condoning such behaviour and contributing to the continued trauma upon this young woman.”
Victims of rape and other sexual assaults are guaranteed the right to lifetime anonymity, and anyone publishing names or the like could be subject to a fine of upto £5000.
Some users have now deleted their tweets, and some users have been ‘retweeting’ others. It will be interesting, and possibly creation of case law, in seeing how these are treated.
One twitter user (not from Wrexham) is directly taunting North Wales Police regarding the case, and has also named the victim, to their twitter account saying “bring it on north wales police”. A very quick Wrexham.com online investigation has revealed information that would identify this specific user with relative ease.
Attorney General’s Office said “The police are now investigating these allegations and, if appropriate, will supply a file of evidence to the CPS. The CPS will then consider the evidence in accordance with the code for Crown Prosecutors. Should they decide that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute, the CPS will refer the case to the Attorney General for him to consider if his consent should be given.”
Due to the simplicity of discovering names, locations and identities of those publishing the names prosecutions ought to be a near certainty if the desire is there.
This case reminds us of the Wrexham riots rumours, which we warned wrexhamites on twitter about the dangers of posting inciteful tweets. Several months later people from the North West were jailed for just that.
As per our tweet last week , we would strongly advise anyone thinking of publishing names in this manner to not do so.