Bedale woman fined for Le Vell trial tweet
- 20 March 2014
- From the section York & North Yorkshire
A woman who tweeted the identity of the alleged victim in the trial of Coronation Street's Michael Le Vell has been fined.
Deborah Armstong, of Bedale, North Yorkshire, wrote: "I hope Michael Le Vell's victim...now goes public" - and identified the female involved.
The 37-year-old was fined £110 after she pleaded guilty to the offence at Manchester Magistrates' Court.
Mr Le Vell, who was on trial for sex offences, was acquitted of all charges.
The court heard Armstrong's post was re-tweeted and when it was pointed out to her that her tweet was breaking the law, she told others: "You are not my judge and jury."
Under UK law, complainants in a sex offence case are given lifelong anonymity.
Fran Gough, prosecuting, said Armstrong had tweeted the complainant's name at the end of the trial in September as "she was angry at the perceived injustice of the acquittal".
District Judge Khalid Qureshi said: "It's not like the old days where it's a quiet chat in the pub, this becomes public within minutes.
"I accept there was no malice behind the issue.
"Complainants of the subject of these types of offences need every encouragement that if they have the courage of their convictions they will have the protection of anonymity of this type, whatever the outcome.
"Whether the prosecution is successful or not, they are entitled to that anonymity.
"The fear is, I dare not make a complaint because somebody might put my name on Twitter.
"The offence carries only a financial penalty. That's Parliament's decision but in my view these cases could be looked at far more seriously in terms of sanction."
Armstrong pleaded guilty to an offence under the Sexual Offences Amendment Act.
She was fined £110, ordered to pay £85 costs and pay a victim surcharge of £20.