Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Using Facebook can breach no contact orders

It is common when domestic violence orders are made that an order that can be made is for the respondent not to have any contact with the aggrieved.

Some Magistrates used to copy the Bail Act provisions when they made these:
No contact, direct or indirect, whether personal or otherwise

while more recntly clauses have said: "no contact, including by phone or electronic means".

Well two men, one in the US and one in the UK have been punished for breaching no contact clauses by using Facebook.

In the UK case, the exhusband, who had engaged in a series of harassing emails and texts went to join Facebook. Whether deliberately or not, he allowed Facebook to request his ex-wife to be a friend. Result? A breach and 10 days jail.

In the US case, People v. Fernino 851 N.Y.S.2d 339 (N.Y.C. Crim.Ct., 2008), a protection order had been made against Melissa Fernino,which included: "Respondent shall have NO CONTACT with Sandra Delgrosso."

Melissa Fernino then made friend requests on Facebook to Sandra Delgrosso and her two daughters.

The court found that the friend request was a breach. While it was true that a person can deny the request to become friends, that request was still a contact, which violated the no contact requirement of the protection order.

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