Anti-Social media – By Athelstane Aamodt
Athelstane Aamodt examines the new CPS guidance on cases involving communications sent via social media.
The law has long been concerned with what people can and cannot say publicly. As long ago as 130AD a Praetor’s Edict (a proclamation of Roman law) held that shouting at someone contrary to good morals could be punishable. In 1275 the first statue in England dealing with defamation came into effect, the “Scandalum Magnatum”, which made it a criminal offence to speak ill of the great and the good of the kingdom. The Court of Star Chamber, which was abolished in the 17th century, enforced libel laws without any impunity. The lawyer and polemicist William Prynne (1600-1669) was a notable recipient of Star Chamber justice.
Having written a book about stage plays that was deemed to have insulted the queen, he was pilloried and had both of his ears cut off. When an undeterred Prynne repeated his comments, he had what was left of his ears cut off and had “SL” (seditious libeller) branded into his forehead…
Click below for PDF full article in New Law Journal.