New CPS guidelines on prosecuting social media offences

Following a series of high profile prosecutions in connection with the prosecution of offences committed online, in December, the Crown Prosecution Service published Interim Guidelines on the prosecution of offences committed through social media services.

JUSTICE welcomes the Interim Guidelines as “timely, if not overdue”.  We raise a number of concerns about the clarity of the guidance offered and the need to ensure claritly to boost public confidence and prevent any unjustifiable and unintended chilling of the use of social media to support freedom of expression.  However, we welcome the overall impression that the prosecution of offences connected with offensive behaviour will rarely be in the public interest.