Blogger told to stop

By Kathryn Powley

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

In a landmark court decision, a blogger has been ordered to remove dozens of posts and comments from her website and issued with a restraining order against a lawyer she harassed on-line.

Earlier this month Judge David Harvey ordered Jacqueline Sperling to take down about 90 statements about lawyer Madeleine Flannagan from her blog.

In her complaint, Flannagan said would-be legal clients trying to reach her had Googled her name and discovered the blog.

In a June 2012 ruling about the same blogger, Harvey found Sperling had harassed Flannagan and a friend online but a restraining order was not justified. But Sperling continued to post material.

In the fresh decision, Harvey ruled Sperling's posts and comments amounted to a "pattern of conduct amounting to harassment" and they must be taken down.

He ordered Sperling not to publish Flannagan's name or anything that could identify her or her family. The order is for an indefinite period, and Sperling, a former partner of former MP Michael Laws, was told to pay Flannagan $9010 in costs.

Canterbury University law professor and privacy law specialist Ursula Cheer described the judgement as "landmark", but proposed cyber-bullying laws would likely supersede any affect from it.

- Herald on Sunday

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