We have previously raised the risks associated with social networking when a relationship breaks down on our blog, but another example hit the news this week, with reports that one man now faces criminal charges, and a stint in prison if convicted, as a result of what he posted on a social networking site.
Brian Frain has been charged with bigamy after his first wife, from whom he had reportedly been separated for a number of years, saw a picture of him at his second wedding, despite the fact they had never divorced. Frain is now involved in a court trial to determine whether he will be found guilty of the offence and if so, whether a custodial sentence is appropriate.
In his defence, Frain contends that he no longer realised that his first marriage was valid, given that it had taken place many years ago, and had lasted only for a short period of time. The idea that a marriage could stop subsisting in law merely by the passage of time is, of course, completely wrong.
The case highlights the importance of getting legal advice if you are in any doubt about your legal position, as the consequences, as demonstrated in this case, can be severe and far-reaching. It is also a reminder that pictures posted on popular social networking sites are rarely “private” in the strict sense of the word and can often find their way to the hand (or sights) of others, and can be used within legal proceedings. Anyone involved in a separation or family proceedings is always well advised to consider any posts carefully, and think about potential consequences.
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