Harass, Menace or Offend Using Carriage Services Offences

Poppy Morandin.

 

Players from the Brisbane Broncos and Canterbury Bulldogs have been the latest to come forward regarding online abuse after receiving a barrage of insulting messages.

Jordan Riki and Tesi Niu, of the Brisbane Broncos, posted screenshots of their inboxes after their team’s 28-20 defeat at Suncorp Stadium to the Newcastle Knights.

Riki’s screenshots show nine messages, which stated: “I’d love to see you injure yourself” and called him a “c**k licker”, a “soft hearted c**t” among other insults.

The young backrower posted a screenshot of the messages, captioning it: “I didn’t have the best game tonight I appreciate the feedback always but I’m not gonna cop this… sorry about the language”.

Niu received a message by one supposed fan telling him to “go back to reserve grade”, to which he replied “thank you brother, appreciate the love. Hope that made you feel better”.

The man then replied with two more allegedly insulting and abusive messages.

The Brisbane Broncos have since posted a media release stating that they ‘strongly condemn all forms of discrimination and online abuse’ and will ‘continue to challenge and report such disgusting behaviour’.

This round of online abuse comes only a day after Canterbury winger Jayden Okunbor decided to speak out against racist abuse he has received via social media.

Okunbur, who is of Nigerian descent, received multiple messages filled with slurs.

“I don’t understand how you can think it’s OK to attack someone because [of] the colour of their skin.” Okunbur commented.

“Wouldn’t normally do this but I’ve deleted racist messages before and I’ve had enough of it. So I’m calling this out.” he continued.

The Canterbury Bulldogs have since formally reported the matter to police, with CEO Aaron Warburton commenting that they will be assisting officers with their inquiry.

Earlier this year, South-Sydney Rabbitohs player, Latrell Mitchell also called out racist abuse received on social media.

25-year-old Daniel Robert Hudson, was convicted for using a carriage service to menace, harass and offend.

He received a $400 fine.

Following a South Sydney vs West Tigers game in April, Hudson sent messages to Latrell stating: “enjoy your time on the sidelines you dirty ***. You should have been sent off twice tonight, when are you gunna clean up ya act and not play like a dirty c**t”.

The next day at around 7pm, he sent another message to Mitchell’s account saying: “have fun on the sidelines ya grub.”

Following this game Mitchell was banned for four weeks by the NRL judiciary for a dangerous elbow on Wests Tigers winger David Nofoaluma.

Just over an hour after this decision, Hudson sent: “You’re a grub Latrell I’d bash you … word”.

The facts stated that Mitchell was ‘deeply offended’ by the messages and promptly reported it to the NRL and Rabbitohs Club.

During sentencing, Hudson claimed that he sent the messages out of ‘frustration’, claiming he is not racist and ‘regrets sending the offensive messages’.

Harass, Menace or Offend Using Carriage Services Offences

Pursuant to section 474.17(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth), a person commits an offence if they use a carriage service in a way that reasonable persons would regard as being, in all the circumstances, as menacing, harassing or offensive.

A carriage service includes services for carrying out communications via ‘guided or unguided electromagnetic energy’.

This can include telephone and means related to the internet such as Facebook messages, iMessage and email.

A maximum penalty of 3 years imprisonment is prescribed, if dealt with in the District Court.

However, the matter can be, and often is, dealt with in the Local Court where both prosecution and defendant consent. In this case, the maximum penalty prescribed is one year in jail and/or a fine of $13,320 pursuant to section 4J of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth).

In order to establish this offence, the prosecution must prove that the material was offensive according to an objective standard as regarded by a reasonable person.

Offensive has been ruled to mean: ‘calculated or likely to arouse significant anger, significant outrage, disgust or hatred in the mind of a reasonable person in all the circumstances’ (Monis v The Queen [2013] HCA 4).

Alternatively, in order to be ‘menacing’ or ‘harassing’, the prosecution must prove a serious potential effect on receiver, including causing apprehension or fear for the person’s safety.

This is according to an objective standard of a reasonable person.

Questions? Get in touch with our friendly team.

Did you know, that you generally know need to use a good character letter for court if being sentenced after pleading guilty.

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