The teenage girl reportedly behind the posting of naked photos of St Kilda AFL football player Nick Riewoldt on her FaceBook page remains unrepentant and un-contactable. The teenage girl is believed to have taken a number of digital photos from the laptop of a fellow St Kilda player Sam Gilbert and then posted them on FaceBook. She has told reporters that she has further photos and will post them at a later time.
Lawyers representing the football players and St Kilda club have taken civil legal action to prevent the teenage girl and FaceBook publishing these photos. This has taken effect but the teenager has responded via other sites such as Ustream and also made tweets from her Twitter account that she won’t be bound by these restrictions.
As the teenager is thought to be interstate, the lawyers took the novel step of posting details of the Federal Court action on the Ustream site after she used it earlier in the day. The teenager claims that she had not been made aware of the action or restrictions in talks with journalists – whether the court will take a different view is another matter.
This raises the real issue of the differences between the online and offline worlds when parties are in dispute and enforcing legal actions or judgments on perpetrators or witnesses. The lawyers have also tried sending details of the court actions to her and her father’s email addresses – but proving that this made it through to the teenage girl will be very difficult.
The lawyers are unable to use the resources of the Police to track down the teenage girl as they have viewed the matter as a civil dispute and not a criminal event. It is not known whether or not they have engaged an investigator to find her whereabouts but that would be a smart move under such circumstances.
An experienced investigator should be able to identify her whereabouts and serve and court papers so as to take away the claim that she’s unaware of any actions. The usual response from a party once they have been located and served is to quickly reassess their situation and move to communicating with the lawyers directly – court papers have a sobering effect on most people.
Whatever the result in court over the next few days and the effectiveness of the restrictions on publishing the photos, terrible damage has already been done to the AFL code and St Kilda in particular. Locating and communicating directly with an aggrieved party is an effective tool in dealing with sensitive matters that are best handled passively rather than online in the glare of the media.
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