Saturday, April 25, 2009

Twit ?

This Magistrate, the distinguished IT consultant Steve Molyneux, fell on his sword after using the social networking site Twitter to report on cases in his court. It's a heck of a shame - judging by his wikipedia entry (even if he wrote it himself) he's a clever, successful man who cares about his community and so is likely to be a loss to the Telford bench.

According to his history on Twitter (here) all he did was report one-liner descriptions of the cases he heard the same day, without giving any names or personal details. Seems a fellow Magistrate reported him and he resigned rather than go through any misconduct hearing.

I personally don't think he did anything wrong or anything to be ashamed about. There is no guidance at all about how Magistrates should behave where the Internet is concerned so what rule did he break? More importantly, who did he hurt ?

All the same, I'll certainly be remaining anonymous and I will continue to disguise the details of my cases. However, should the HMCS ever publish guidelines for Magistrates regarding online activities, I will immediately comply and would remove any non-compliant material from this site.

What possessed the other Magistrate to rat him out ? That's the question that haunts me. I'm sure there's a wonderfully human story to be told.


Trevor said...

Thanks for drawing this case to my attention. I've posted my thoughts here.

Stan said...

No problems Trevor - the lesson seems to be that whatever you do : don't tell another Magistrate.