The accused cyberbullies: our list of shame

Cyberbullying threatens the mental health of a generation of young New Zealanders. Photo / File
Cyberbullying threatens the mental health of a generation of young New Zealanders. Photo / File

Nearly 40 people across the country have been charged under the new Harmful Digital Communications Act since it passed in July last year.

Cases have come before the courts from Invercargill to Auckland and Justice Minister Amy Adams is hailing the act a success with 38 people prosecuted as of last Thursday.

Here are the cases charged under the new law that the Herald has found:

Auckland

3 cases
• A 36-year-old man who allegedly beat his partner over several years is also accused of posting a photo of himself with two firearms in a threatening message to her. He will apply for bail next week.
• A 25-year-old former Army employee is accused of posting a partially-nude photo of his ex-workmate.

He will appear in court in August.
• A 24-year-old man allegedly posted a photo and information about a prostitute to cause her harm. He is also accused of using forged concert tickets to gain sexual favours from her and will be back in court in August.

Waitakere

1 case
• A 62-year-old engineer has pleaded not guilty to sending a harmful email to his former partner. He will appear again in court next month.

Manukau

2 cases
• A 46-year-old mechanic has denied posting naked photos of a relative online and will go to trial in August.
• A 30-year-old Pakuranga man will also defendant a charge at trial in November, alleging he used Facebook to cause a woman harm.

North Shore

2 cases
• A 25-year-old plumber will appear in court this week accused of sending harmful text messages to a woman.
• A 29-year-old entrepreneur allegedly created a fake dating profile in the name of a woman and will be in court again in September.

Hamilton

2 cases
• Michael Cousins, 28, is accused of posting a digital communication with intent to cause the victim harm. He's pleaded not guilty.
• Cambridge man Michael Moore, 40, is to be sentenced for posting a nude photograph with intent to cause the victim serious emotional distress.

Tauranga

2 cases
• both disposed

Rotorua

1 case
• disposed

Gisborne

1 case
• disposed

Wanganui

1 case
• will be sentenced this month

Marton

1 case
• active

Social media, such as Facebook, is where a lot of cyberbullying occurs. Photo / File
Social media, such as Facebook, is where a lot of cyberbullying occurs. Photo / File

Levin

3 cases
• 1 disposed
• Brandon Friday Anthony Kimura-Gregory, 24, will be sentenced in July after pleading guilty to two charges of sending an indecent image to a woman.
• Luke Barry Gill, 24, has pleaded not guilty to sending an indecent image and has been remanded for trial.

Wellington

2 cases
• both active
• A 37-year-old man is facing two counts alleging he posted recordings of a 21-year-old woman online within a couple of days.

Nelson

2 cases
• Aaron Tamihana was jailed for 11 months for sending an explicit video of his ex-partner to her mother.
• one active file

Westport

1 case
• will go to trial this week

Greymouth

4 cases
• two have been disposed, one will go to trial in September, another has a mental health hearing this week
• Timothy Black was sentenced to six months supervisions and 150 hours community work for posting degrading comments including telling a woman to kill herself. He was also given a serve by Judge David Saunders, who suggested Black do a literacy course because of the spelling in his harmful communications. "This man has a mind like a cesspit and a mouth like a sewer," Judge Saunders said.

Queenstown

1 case
• Andrew Lawrence admitted sending text messages and making harmful Facebook posts to a "high-profile" Kiwi actor. Was sentenced yesterday.

Christchurch

3 cases
• two disposed, one will be sentenced this month
• Henare Hohaia sent 321 Facebook messages to his former boss over a five-month period. Some featured hand-drawn pictures with a gun to the back of the victim's head.

Glenn Prattley has been sentenced to intensive supervision on charges that included sending indecent material in a text message. Photo / Greg Bowker
Glenn Prattley has been sentenced to intensive supervision on charges that included sending indecent material in a text message. Photo / Greg Bowker

Ashburton

2 cases
• One active, one disposed
• Glenn William Prattley, 32, who lost his newborn daughter and partner in the Christchurch earthquake, was last week sentenced to intensive supervision on charges that included sending indecent material in a text message.

Alexandra

2 cases
• One disposed
• One active with name suppression

Dunedin

5 cases
• Two disposed
• Teenager Jayden Fallows was convicted after threatening to send naked photos of his ex-partner to her mother. He also threatened to harm her new boyfriend and himself.
• three active cases

Invercargill

3 cases
• two disposed
• one active

Youth Court

1 case
• disposed

* Cases that are "disposed" include those in which the defendant has been sentenced, acquitted or had charges dropped.


Where to get help:

• In an emergency: call 111
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633, or text 234 (available 24/7) or talk@youthline.co.nz or live chat (between 7pm and 11pm) http://livechat.youthline.co.nz/mibew/chat?locale=en&style=youthline
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155 (weekdays 11am to 5pm)
• NetSafe: 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723), www.theorb.org.nz

How parents can stop cyberbullying:

• Understand where your kids are going online, what they are doing and who they are talking to.
• Spend time in your child's online world.
• Accept and acknowledge how important technology is to your child.
• Don't ask your child if they're being cyberbullied. Use their language - have they seen mean texts circulating, humiliating photos or messages on others' Facebook walls?
• Don't downplay covert bullying. Don't dismiss it saying "don't worry ... it doesn't matter if you've been left out" or "just ignore the bullying". This tells the child that you don't take their situation seriously and can even convey that it's normal for others to treat them this way.
• Make it clear cyberbullying will not result in phone or internet access being taken away. Discuss this with your child and reassure them that's not how you'll deal with it.
• Teach your kids how to be good cyber citizens before they are in Year 4, when they may begin to venture online.
• Much of cyberbullying and face-to-face bullying is learned behaviour. Look at what behaviours you're modelling to your kids. Is sarcasm and point-scoring part of your family culture?
• Don't contact the other child but tell the school principal.

- NZ Herald

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