News story

Court agrees Facebook and Twitter users breached injunction

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Two men who published photographs on Twitter and Facebook said to show the killers of James Bulger have admitted being in contempt of court.

Judges at the High Court in London today agreed that two men knowingly breached an injunction which forbids publication of images or information which purports to be the adults Jon Venables or Robert Thompson (whether correctly identified or not).

They made postings on Facebook and Twitter which breached the terms of the injunction.

The Attorney General brought this case in the public interest.

Dean Liddle and Neil Harkins posted messages and pictures in February 2013. Sir John Thomas and Mr Justice Tugendhat agreed with the Attorney that it was not necessary to have seen a copy of the injunction but to know it existed. Lawyers for the Attorney argued that the injunction - in place since 2001 was widely known to exist and is frequently mentioned in news reports.

The Attorney General, Dominic Grieve said:

An internet posting takes seconds but can have major consequences. These people were fully aware that there is an injunction in place which prevents publication of any images or information claiming to identify anyone as Jon Venables or Robert Thompson yet they carried on. It has been in place for many years and applies to both media organisations and individuals.

It is irrelevant whether the postings in this case were of who they claimed to be. The order is meant not only to protect Venables and Thompson but also those members of the public who have been incorrectly identified as being either of them.