Teen posts friend's medical info with a LOL

A woman who posted someone's confidential medical information on Instagram accompanied the photo with a single comment: ''LOL''

The acronym - meaning ''laugh out loud'' - was posted by 19-year-old Courtney Glenn Blair on June 11 in response to the hospital discharge papers which included an acquaintance's mental and sexual-health status.

Counsel Noel Rayner said his client and her friend had ''come across'' the private document and shared it on the popular social-media site for only a brief time before removing it.

He said Blair decided to post the document because at the time she considered it might benefit her friends to know its contents.

Mr Rayner tendered documents to the court which he said suggested the victim had previously spoken openly about his mental health issues through the online medium.

However, at a previous court hearing one judge noted the incident had provoked suicidal thoughts in the man and prompted a six-day stay in Wakari Hospital.

''It's one thing for a person to post bravely about their mental-health issues, it's another to put a photo of their discharge papers on Instagram for the world to see,'' that judge noted.

Judge John Strettell, in the Dunedin District Court yesterday, said Blair's acts reflected her age and her lack of social awareness.

''It was a significantly mean and harmful thing to him and I sense it was not only a deliberate act but one in which you didn't really think through the consequences,'' he said.

It was fortunate, the judge said, that there were no irreversible effects of the defendant's offending.

As a result of the Instagram post, Blair pleaded guilty to a charge under the Harmful Digital Communications Act.

She also admitted three counts of wilful damage.

Judge Strettell said they appeared to be ''a cross between vigilante action and revenge''.

On January 22, Blair saw her ex-partner's car outside a Halfway Bush home. She took to the rear of the vehicle with a baseball bat with such venom, she broke the bat, a police summary revealed.

Six months later, the defendant parked outside a St Kilda address and used her key to gouge several marks into the side of her former friend's ute.

The next day, Blair did the same thing to her ex's car in Mornington.

The total bill for the damage came to $1521 and though the defendant was only working casual hours, Mr Rayner said she wanted to repay the victims.

''One only hopes this offending ... brings home to you that everything has a consequence,'' Judge Strettell said.

Blair was sentenced to 150 hours' community work, nine months' supervision and ordered to pay the full reparation amount at $10 a week.

rob.kidd@odt.co.nz

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