Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Criminal blogging?

I learned only this morning of far-right blowhard Richard Evans' pattern of attacks on a female blogger, Polly Jones. These culminated recently in a suggestion that Jones kill herself, left as a comment on a post in which she, perhaps unwisely, had disclosed a lot of her personal pain.

Driven by desperation, Jones telephoned Evans to try to make him stop. Being what he is, Evans taped the call and posted it posted her recorded message on his blog, with more insulting commentary. This was then relayed in a post
by Holocaust jokester Kate McMillan and is currently being discussed by some of her flying monkeys. Read the comments thread if you need a morning emetic.

It appears that Dick, and I use the nickname advisedly, has been following Jones around in cyberspace since she began blogging, calling her various names consistent with his misogyny, posting photoshopped pictures of her on his blog, and also--rather creepily--inviting her to BBQs and other events in the Calgary area.

There appear to be three separate issues of law that are relevant to this on-going behaviour.

First is the matter of the posted photoshop jobs. Readers will recall that no less an individual than Stephen Harper recently sued the Liberals for "misappropriation of personality." One instance of such misappropriation is the unauthorized use of an image of a person--it's a tort, as established by Les Editions Vice Versa v Aubry in 1998.

The second, actually brought up in detail by a dissident over at SDA, is that it is a criminal offence to counsel suicide. Jones' inner turmoil is a matter of public record at the moment. Decent people would feel considerable sympathy and empathy for her, but we are not here dealing with decent people. The suggestion that Jones shoot herself was made in the full knowledge of Jones' anguished mental state. Here is the relevant section of the Criminal Code:

241. Every one who
(a) counsels a person to commit suicide, or
(b) aids or abets a person to commit suicide,
whether suicide ensues or not, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

The third issue of law is the Criminal Code's criminal harassment provisions, Section 264. Of particular interest in the present connection is this:

264. (1) No person shall, without lawful authority and knowing that another person is harassed or recklessly as to whether the other person is harassed, engage in conduct referred to in subsection (2) that causes that other person reasonably, in all the circumstances, to fear for their safety or the safety of anyone known to them.

Prohibited conduct

(2) The conduct mentioned in subsection (1) consists of
(b) repeatedly communicating with, either directly or indirectly, the other person or anyone known to them;

Cyber-stalking may also fall under other provisions of the Criminal Code (
scroll to end).

I believe that matters have gone well past the line at this point. Not only should the police and a lawyer be consulted, but there should also be a chorus of condemnation in the blogosphere, right, left and centre. Dick's conduct is flagrantly wretched and immoral, and it should be named as such by anyone with an ounce of human compassion or decency. We shouldn't expect to find much of the latter at
Small Dead Animals, but perhaps saner and more civil voices will be heard as this story develops.

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