Facebook 'Name and Shame Baby Beater' MessageOutline
Rapidly circulating Facebook message asks users to share a "name and shame" photograph of a man accused of severely beating a 17 month old baby.
In 2012, the person named in the message was placed on bail to Truro Crown Court regarding a grievous bodily harm allegation. Records indicate that he again appeared in court on March 28, 2013. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the man is already in prison. While the accusations in the message may be true, details of the alleged attack have not been fully confirmed in any credible reports available to the public. In any case, as discussed in more detail below, social media vigilantism of this nature is unhelpful and potentially dangerous. Sending on this message will not help victims. Nor will it help bring the accused to justice. The prosecution of such crimes is best left to the court system. Trial by Facebook is unethical, irresponsible and counterproductive.
BABY BEATER !! THIS IS 24 YR OLD JOSHUA [Names Removed],, a baby beater who attacked a 17 month baby girl so bad her family were told to say there goodbyes , she suffered a fractured skull in 2 places , bleeding to the brain , fist mark bruises to one side of her face , finger marks down her back, where we were told he slammed her off the wall or floor and a lot more !! PLEASE SHARE THIS PHOTO ,, NAME AND SHAME THIS ANIMAL FROM BUDE, CORNWALL,
A message currently going viral on Facebook asks users to name and shame a man accused of beating and seriously injuring a 17 month old baby in Bude, Cornwell UK. The message describes the attack on the baby in some detail. It also names the alleged baby beater and includes a photograph of him.
At the time of writing, details about the case described appear limited. In March 2012, the man named in the message was charged with grievous bodily harm with intent for an incident that occurred the previous August and placed on bail to Truro Crown Court. The report on the charges does not supply details. In May 2012, the man was arrested for criminal damage at a house in Bude, during which he made violent threats against police. The man was previously jailed in 2009 for assaulting a police officer. A later court report indicates that he was in court for sentencing on the 28th March 2013. Some, so far unconfirmed, reports suggest that he is now in prison.
While the heinous attack may well have occurred as described, it is difficult to fully validate the claims in the message due to the absence of credible reports about the incident.
But, in any case, creating and sharing accusatory messages of this nature is far from helpful and is in fact more likely to make things worse. Such "name and shame" campaigns can jeopardize the prosecution's case. They can play into the hands of the criminal's defense team, who may claim undue media attention and accusations have compromised their client's right to a fair trial. The messages may also inadvertently identify the victims of crime and their families, thereby exposing them to unwanted media attention or the threat of retaliatory attacks. The messages may encourage vigilante attacks or threats of violence against people accused of crimes. Far from exacting any sort of meaningful justice, such actions may result in charges being laid against the vigilantes, thereby helping nobody and achieving nothing worthwhile. And mistaken identities - perhaps exacerbated by poor quality photographs of the accused person and the fact that many individuals around the world may share the same name - may result in attacks on innocent people.
In other such social media vigilante posts, people may be falsely accused of a crime that they did not commit. This can have a detrimental and ongoing impact on the lives and reputations of innocent people.
Citizens, when confronted with heinous crimes or activities, may well have a natural desire on occasion to take matters into their own hands. But the power and reach of social media can mean that things better left unsaid can travel around the globe and continue to circulate for months or years after the instigating circumstance has been resolved. In the long, sorry history of bad ideas, Trial by Facebook would surely enjoy a high ranking. However angry you may feel about an issue, creating and sharing "name and shame" vigilante social media posts is irresponsible, unethical and - ultimately - will serve no good purpose.
Last updated: April 2, 2013
First published: April 2, 2013
Research: David White, Brett Christensen By Brett M. Christensen
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