Law needs to catch up with social media

Any politician reading comments by County Court judge Roy Punshon from yesterday’s appeal by Josh Turner over his six-month suspended jail sentence and 15-month community corrections order for the Bendaz Root Rate Facebook site should get straight to work today.

Judge Punshon made it clear that government legislation made it impossible for him to give Turner a suspended jail sentence and a community corrections order (CCO), so he had to choose.

Judge Punshon chose the CCO because of the high degree of supervision and rehabilitation programs in that order. He told Turner not to view this as a more lenient sentence. But Turner would be pretty happy today... no threat of jail, and a 50-hour cut to his CCO.

Quite simply, this stinks.

This site was set up because two men who were “bored” went on to degrade girls as young as 13 – minors. It hosted horrific content that deeply affected young lives.

Yet government legislation forces a judge to cut the sentence imposed on one of the creators of this cyber vehicle for emotional assault.

It’s wrong and politicians should set it right. Someone, somewhere has to take a stand against social media.

At present there are almost no repercussions for people peddling this stuff. Media organisations are bound by laws. Given the vile stuff written on social media, clearly the same rules don’t apply, and giants such as Facebook appear to have little interest in cleaning it up.

Turner’s lawyer, Stephen Payne, said his client had shown extreme remorse.

Well, Turner can have as much space in the Bendigo Advertiser as he wants to express that remorse in a public apology to all the people hurt by his “boredom”. No doubt they’d love to hear it.

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