by Amelia Harris November 11, 2011 Perth now
A TEENAGER has been banned from Facebook after he allegedly made threats against his former girlfriend online.
The unique conditions imposed by the court on the 17-year-old are believed to be an Australian first as police said they were seeing more complaints about offensive comments on social networking sites.
Police allege the teen threatened to shoot the girl, 15, in the face and bury her in a 2m hole in a poem he wrote and posted on Facebook this month.
A police application to have the boy remanded in custody when the case went before a children’s court last week was refused.
He was bailed on the conditions he did not use electronic media, including Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, and did not go to Swan Hill except to attend court or see a counsellor.
The magistrate also ordered the boy not to use his mobile phone or a computer.
Leading cyber safety expert Susan McLean said she believed a Facebook ban as part of bail conditions was an Australian first.
“I think you are going to see more and more of it as magistrates begin to understand the seriousness of technology issues and the damaging consequences on the victim,” she said.
“People should understand that cyber space is not a place devoid of laws.
“People are expected to obey them as they are in the real world and those that don’t will be subject to the full force of the law.”
It was common in the US for people convicted of child pornography offences to be banned from social media.
Prosecutor Leading Sen-Constable John Lyons told the Herald Sun last night he had not heard of a Facebook ban being part of bail conditions.
“People need to be mindful of the fact that whatever they post on social networking sites, despite privacy settings, if it involves alleged criminal conduct it will be able to be accessed by police,” Sen-Constable Lyons said.
The teenage boy has been charged with one count of making a threat to kill and one count of using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence.
Making threats to kill attracts up to 10 years in jail under the Victorian Crimes Act 1958. Using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence attracts up to three years in jail under the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995.
The case returned to court on Thursday and was adjourned until next month.