Ian Puddick accused of online harassment over wife's affair
A plumber used Twitter, blogs and online videos to expose his wife's affair with her boss, a court heard.
Ian Puddick, 41, from Enfield, north London, is accused of harassment after detailing online his wife's affair with insurance firm director Timothy Haynes.
Mr Haynes, from Billingshurst, West Sussex, said Mr Puddick should have taken up his anger with him alone.
Mr Puddick denied the charges at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court.
Mr Haynes told the court that both he and his wife needed counselling after the "embarrassment and shame" they had been caused.
"I think most of the country - thanks to the internet - is aware I had an affair," Mr Haynes, who lost his job as a result of the relationship, said.
Though not all of the alleged harassment in this trial concerns information placed on the internet, the case points up the issue of whether someone freely expressing themselves widely online can be guilty of harassment.
There has been no suggestion that anything posted by Mr Puddick is untrue, simply that the widespread and repeated dissemination of sometimes graphic information allegedly amounts to harassment.
The law says that a person ought to know they are harassing someone else, if a reasonable person with the same information would consider their actions to be harassment.
In cases like this, reasonable people would probably be split on the issue.
As with jurors using Facebook, and people tweeting details of privacy injunctions, the law and the internet are working out their growing and not especially comfortable relationship.
Regulating what goes online is proving problematic for both the civil and the criminal law.
His 10-year affair with Leena Puddick, which gathered pace after they slept together at a Christmas party in 2002, was exposed after her husband read a text message on her mobile phone in 2009.
The court heard details of e-mails and text messages that Mr Haynes had sent her over the course of their affair.
Mr Puddick's counsel, Michael Wolkind QC, asked Mr Haynes if he was "not to be trusted because you are a dishonest and deceitful man?"
The barrister added: "What is it about the website that you are moaning about? You suffered the same degree of harassment that a burglar does when he is caught by the police."'Upset and distress'
Mr Haynes initially made a complaint to police after receiving text messages and phone calls but dropped charges in a bid to put the incident behind him.
He complained again to police in 2010 after Mr Puddick set up websites and detailed the affair on Twitter, the court heard.
Mr Puddick bought a number of web names, including "Banksyunmasked", prior to setting up his website detailing the affair, the court was told.
It was also said that he set up a fake page on LinkedIn, which contains business-themed profiles of individuals, to expose potential clients of Mr Haynes to details about the insurance broker's private life.
Mr Haynes added: "Every medium, including Twitter, was being utilised to create information about myself and the affair.
"The whole thing is causing my wife upset and distress. We are very anxious that, with the graphic nature of the website, that children do not stumble across it."
He added that he "was deceitful", but said: "I like to think of myself as an honest person."
Speaking outside court, Mr Puddick said: "It is a very, very interesting story. I wish it was happening to somebody else and not me.
"But there are obviously big legal implications for the press and for the public. I've stood my ground."
The case continues.