Facebook row, Doncaster man in court

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Facebook is today at the centre of a row after a teenager was prosecuted after posting a topless picture of his ex-girlfriend on her mum’s page.

Callum Jack Bennett’s actions came as part of a hate campaign against his former lover after she jilted him, Doncaster magistrates heard.

Bennett, aged 19, was hauled before the courts on a charge of harassment without violence.

But despite his menacing threats towards her, the victim told police she did not want a restraining order against him.

Bennett, of Haldynby Gardens, Armthorpe, pleaded guilty to the charge, committed over a three-day period last month, when he sent her threatening text messages and posted the semi-naked picture without the girl’s consent. It was his first offence.

The two had been in a relationship for 17 months when they split but prosecutor David Sheppard told the court: “It may well be, at the end of the proceedings, it resumes.”

The defendant contacted the girl by phone in a friendly manner but changed his tone.

Two texts read: “You watch what happens tonight” and “die now”.

“He accused her of being involved with another young man, which she denies,” said Mr Sheppard. “She woke up the next morning to a whole host of texts and she had difficulty accessing her Facebook account.

“It transpired an item of hers, a semi-naked picture, had gone on to her mother’s page, which you might think a particularly cruel twist.”

Mr Sheppard said Bennett texted her to say he was going to cause her and her family harm, telling her she and her father were “not going to be breathing soon”.

“She believed him and became very frightened he would do something to her and her dad, so much so she came home from work in a different vehicle that he would not recognise.”

Bennett was arrested and made no comment in police interviews.

Mr Sheppard said: “The complainant has made her feelings clear to the defendant via a third party, but says she doesn’t want a restraining order.”

Sentencing Bennett to 100 hours of unpaid community work with a £100 costs order and £60 victim surcharge, magistrate Hazel Burniston told him: “It is not very nice what you have been doing.

“We hope you are not going to do it again and you have learned your lesson.”

A spokesman for Facebook said they could not comment on individual cases but added: “Facebook does not tolerate bullying or harassment. 
“We allow users to speak freely on matters and people of public interest, but take action on all reports of abusive behaviour directed at private individuals.

“Repeatedly targeting other users with unwanted friend requests or messages is a form of harassment.

“Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and any explicitly sexual content where a minor is involved.

“We also impose limitations on the display of nudity.

“It’s important to note that every page, photo or group on Facebook has a reporting tool next to it that can be used to send a report to Facebook.