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Man who uploaded nude photo acquitted

05 December 2017
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A MAN accused of uploading an obscene picture of his former wife on the internet in 2014, has been acquitted of the allegation.

The man who cannot be named to protect the identity of his former wife had stood trial in the Honiara Magistrates’ Court on the charges of possession of obscene photographs and distribution of obscene photographs.

He was acquitted on the charge of possession of obscene photograph at the no case to answer stage.

On the charge of common assault, he pleaded guilty and will be sentenced today.

During the trial, the Crown called two witnesses and tendered 10 exhibits.

The accused did not call any evidence.

The court had heard that in 2013, the couple took nude photographs of the alleged victim (complainant).

The complainant left the accused sometime in 2013 after having some rough times in their marriage and the accused then threatened to upload the nude photos of the complainant on the internet.

It was heard the complainant later found that someone uploaded her nude photos on Facebook.

The complainant then opened a criminal case against the accused accusing him of uploading the photos.

Police arrested the accused and during the investigations had obtained the flash drive that contained the nude photographs.

During the trial it was heard that seven obscene pictures of the complainant were posted on two Facebook accounts.

The accused made admission in his record of interview with police that he uploaded only one obscene photo on Facebook under a fake account bearing the name of a female in capital letters.

Principal Magistrate Fatima Taeburi after the trial said the accused’s description in his admission does not perfectly match the contents of the photo he said he uploaded.

The accused told police he uploaded one photo in which the complainant was wearing a white towel and a purple bra.

Ms Taeburi however said the photo the accused said he uploaded is a picture of the complainant wearing a white towel and a black bra, not a purple one as stated by the accused in his admission.

She said furthermore, the account name he used to upload those photos are in both small letters and capital letters, and not only in capital letters as stated by the accused.

She said this means the photo and the accused’s description in his record of interview do not match thus are inconsistent.

She therefore had doubts as to whether the Facebook account and the profile picture of that account as shown in exhibit 7 are the same ones that the defendant has admitted in his record of interview.

She said this further means that she cannot take it as proven fact that the accused had created a Facebook account under the female name in capital letters and had uploaded a photo of the complainant as described on FB.

The complainant in her evidence told the court her nude photos were taken using a digital camera belonging to her employer.

She said the photos were then stored in several places, including a SD card, a laptop and a flash drive.

The laptop also belongs to her employer while the accused owned the flash drive.

The court heard that the photos in the laptop are kept in a protected folder and only the accused has the password to that folder.

She also told the court that sometimes after the photos were taken, she took the flash drive and deleted some of her nude pictures inside it.

Sometimes after, the complainant said she took the laptop to her office and an IT person assessed the laptop to update its antivirus.

She said the SD card went missing.

Ms Taeburi said from the complainant’s evidence, she found that although it is possible the accused was the one who uploaded these photos on Facebook, it is also possible that someone else apart from him has assessed these photos in one or more of the locations where they were stored.

She said it is also possible that someone else had uploaded these photos on Facebook and took judicial notice of the fact that there are ways to go around folders which are protected in any computer or device.

“You don’t necessarily need an expert on information technology to crack into any protected folder or document.”

Having said this, she said this further increases possibility that the photos could have been assessed by someone else apart from the accused.

She said from the circumstantial evidence before her, she cannot conclusively say that the only reasonable inference from the facts is that the accused is responsible.

She further added that there are many other possibilities as to how these photos ended up on Facebook.

She found that the Crown has not proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and therefore acquitted the defendant on the charge of distribution of obscene photographs.

Henry Kausimae of Public Solicitor’s Office represents the accused while Police Prosecutor John Palmer appeared for the Crown.

By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN

 

 

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