Published in News
'Arsonist' Facebook threats taken down
by Nick Farrell on17 February 2009
Coppers ask nicely
Facebook has removed postings and groups dedicated to threatening the bloke fingered for the Australian bush fires.
Brendan Sokaluk was the target of Facebook vigilantes, who published his photograph and address on the site and made numerous threats to his life. He has been charged with starting the the Churchill-Jerraland fires in Gippsland, which killed at least 11 people.
The publication breached an order suppressing his image and address amid fears of a violent backlash by angry victims. Lawyers warned that people responsible for the postings could face criminal charges, while the messages could force a mistrial as they jeopardised the accused's right to a fair trial.
Sokaluk's lawyer, Julian McMahon, complained that threats were made against his client's family as a result of the online posts.
Facebook has confirmed that it removed the worst postings calling for Sokaluk to be tortured and the image of the bloke. The snap can still be found on another profile.