Police in social media alert after Doncaster man names sex abuse victim on Facebook

Doncaster Magistrates Court

Doncaster Magistrates Court

Police have issued a warning about the dangers of posting inappropriate comments to social media after a man was convicted of naming a sex offence victim on Facebook.

Shane Ward, aged 32, of Dukes Crescent, Edlington, commented on a court case on South Yorkshire Police’s Facebook page and identified the victim.

Victims of sexual offences have their anonymity protected by law for life.

Ward appeared at Doncaster Magistrates Court and admitted breaching a victim’s right to anonymity under the Sexual Offences Amendment Act 1992.

He was handed a £150 fine and made to pay £100 costs.

Following the case, a spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police warned the public that inappropriate posts will be removed and investigated by officers.

They said: “Whilst we welcome comments and we are keen to encourage them on our Facebook page, we will not tolerate anyone breaking the law or making threatening or abusive posts which are intended to intimidate people living in South Yorkshire.

“We understand that people have differing views on many issues, however we will not condone these types of post and they will be removed and where appropriate, investigated by police.”

In separate cases in 2012, nine people were prosecuted for naming on Twitter the woman who was raped by former Sheffield United footballer Ched Evans.

Evans has appealed against the conviction and his case is due to heard by the Court of Appeal on Tuesday, March 22. The referral to appeal judges follows a 10-month investigation by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

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