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Crown Prosecution Service, Interim Guidelines on Prosecuting Cases Involving Communications Sent Via Social Media (Dec. 19, 2012) (full-text).
These guidelines set out the approach that prosecutors should take when making decisions in relation to cases where it is alleged that criminal offences have been committed by the sending of a communication via social media. Where social media is simply used to facilitate some other substantive offence, prosecutors should proceed under the substantive offence in question.
The guidelines are designed to give clear advice to prosecutors who have been asked either for a charging decision or for early advice to the police, as well as in reviewing those cases which have been charged by the police. Adherence to these guidelines will ensure that there is a consistency of approach across the CPS.
The guidelines cover the offences that are likely to be most commonly committed by the sending of communications via social media. These guidelines equally apply to the resending (or retweeting) of communications and whenever they refer to the sending of a communication, the guidelines should also be read as applying to the resending of a communication. However, the context in which any communication is sent will be highly material.
These guidelines are interim guidelines and they have immediate effect. At the end of the public consultation period, they will be reviewed in light of the responses received. Thereafter final guidelines will be published.