Fears that social media attacks could jeopardise the criminal
justice system have not deterred an online lynch mob
demanding blood as police question a man over the murder of
Facebook's public "R.I.P Sarah Cafferkey" page had more than
27,700 `likes' today.
The page's popularity has swollen since police confirmed
yesterday that the Bacchus Marsh 22-year-old's body had been
It's grown further since an arrest was made today.
Many posters mourned the death of a beautiful young woman
they never knew, while others voiced despair that the tragedy
came soon after the September rape and murder of Brunswick
woman Jill Meagher.
Others, though - as with Ms Meagher's case - wanted blood as
soon they had a suspect's name.
"I hope you rot you mongrel dog!" one woman posted.
Other posts included "Kill the prick" and "Hang the a**hole,
he will do it again."
While some posters called for calm and to let the justice
system take its course, others protested laws were too
lenient and some called for the reintroduction of capital
Police warned the public against making malicious comments as
they announced their arrest of a 47-year-old man.
"The community is reminded that comments on social media
sites may potentially affect the outcome of court matters
relating to this investigation," a police statement said.
"We request people refrain from posting hateful or inciteful
comments on these sites."
The overwhelming social media response to the Meagher case
prompted Australia's attorneys-general to meet last month and
vote to create a new group to craft and enforce social media
Last month, Victorian Police Commissioner Ken Lay accused
Facebook of inciting hatred in the Meagher case and possibly
prejudicing the trial after the social media site initially
failed to remove hate pages about the accused, Adrian Ernest
Bayley, despite requests from police.
A Melbourne magistrate last month banned publication of
prejudicial material about Bayley in a bid to halt the
massive social media hate campaign waged against him.
Perhaps a recent Facebook post by Ms Cafferkey, which
suggests she was in a dispute with a man before she
disappeared, has some advice for social media users.
"Stop being immature over Facebook, please. I've had enough,"
Ms Cafferkey wrote.