Tag Archives: Winslet

How will an ‘Online Harms’ law help if judges won’t recognise the tactics?

Kate Winslet: accepting her BAFTA for I Am Ruth, she pleaded for legislation to tackle the online abuses to which young people are subjected. But what good will any law do, if judges refuse to acknowledge the methods of online abuse?

When Kate Winslet won a BAFTA for I Am Ruth, she pleaded for legislation to battle the online harms to which young people are now constantly subjected.

It was a powerful speech, and the panellists on the BBC’s Politics Live on May 15 (Danny Kruger, Shami Chakrabarti, Alastair Campbell and ConservativeHome’s Henry Hill) discussed what could be done. You can hear their salient points here:


But is it possible to legislate against the tactics that are used to mentally and emotionally attack young people? Would the courts even recognise such methods if a case reached them?

I don’t think so, based on my experience in Rachel Riley’s libel case against me.

I put forward evidence about several different forms of abuse that are commonly used in the social media but the judge refused to recognise any of them.

That was her prerogative, and I’m sure she had her reasons.

But it sets a precedent that means it may now be much harder for anybody trying to win a case under forthcoming “online harms” laws to succeed.

Actions have consequences. I fear the consequences for young people in this age of anti-social media may be severe.

I will try to make our MPs aware of my concerns. It would be welcome if you would do the same.

In the meantime, I am still trying to raise money to pay my legal team, whose members were also concerned about the effect of online abuse on young people.

Please – and only if you are able to spare it – donate to my CrowdJustice fund, or contribute in any of the following ways:

Make a donation via the CrowdJustice page. Keep donating regularly until you see the total pass the amount I need.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

And don’t forget that if you’re having trouble, or simply don’t like donating via CrowdJustice, you can always donate direct to me via the Vox Political PayPal button, where it appears on that website. But please remember to include a message telling me it’s for the crowdfund!

Online harm continues to be an urgent, current issue and my court case was all about that.

It is possible that my actions in defence of a vulnerable teenager may eventually be vindicated, whether a High Court judge approves of them or not.

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