SITTING through a full day of the trial of a former councillor who has been found guilty of “trolling” retired Warrington North MP Helen Jones by bombarding local news websites with comments under stories, re-enforced to me how toxic the world of politics has become.
While a lot of trolling generally takes place on social media, this case involved comments being posted under articles on local news websites, including our own.
There is sometimes a fine line between freedom of speech and trolling – but in the eyes of the law this former Cllr clearly over stepped the mark by posting literally hundreds of comments, many attacking Helen Jones, members of her family and office staff.
The fact she had to change her way of life due to living in fear of an unknown stalker, just shows how this kind of behaviour can impact on peoples’ lives.
These days it is so easy to make comments about people online and indeed I have been a “victim” myself on many occasions.
The internet and social media has become a way of life for many of us and we all have to try our best and use it responsibly.
It is easy to sit at home and lash out at people online – but we have to remember they are human beings with feelings and if these attacks are coming from an unknown source on a regular basis they can clearly be very distressng.
This prosecution is something of a landmark case in the Warrington area and will form some kind of precedent for anyone making defammatory comments online in the future.
Here at Warrington-Worldwide we are all for freedom of speech and only remove comments or block people on social media when we believe they have over stepped the mark.
It is something we would rather not have to do so I would appeal to all our readers who feel the need to comment on local issues and the actions of politicians or anyone else going about their work, to take note of the case below and think very carefully before posting any comments which are defamatory or untrue.