Oliver Schneider-Sikorsky and Cindy Laing discuss ’’Social media offences and claims’’ with LexisNexis

Oliver Schneider-Sikorsky and Cindy Laing discuss ’’Social media offences and claims’’ with LexisNexis

BCL Senior Associate Oliver Schneider-Sikorsky and Associate Cindy Laing have produced a practice note on ’’Social media offences and claims’’ co-authored in partnership with Persphone Bridgman Baker of Cater-Ruck.

*Here is a short extract from the article:

As social media has grown exponentially, the number of types of conduct that may give rise to prosecutions has similarly increased.

The following cyber activities (ie activities using communications technology/taking place online) may enable, constitute, or aggravate one or more of the communications or substantive offences set out in this Practice Note:

  • trolling—baiting that takes place online and normally involves the sending of abusive and hurtful comments or humiliating peers online by labelling them as sexually promiscuous


  • cyberbullying—any form of bullying that takes place online


  • cyberstalking—a form of stalking that generally describes threatening behaviour or unwanted advances directed at another, using forms of online communications. There is no statutory definition of cyberstalking under PHA 1997. The CPS Guidelines for prosecuting social media cases (discussed at section 3) provide a non-exhaustive list of examples of cyberstalking which include: threatening or obscene emails or text messages; spamming; flaming; leaving improper messages on online forums; unwanted indirect contact that may be threatening or menacing; hacking into social media accounts; sending electronic viruses; and sending unsolicited emails


  • virtual mobbing—where multiple persons use social media to make comments about another individual, usually because they are opposed to that individual’s views


  • flaming—live chat harassment, a form of online verbal abuse


  • photoshopping obscene or offensive images of individuals


  • setting up and using fake social networking accounts


*This article was first published by LexisNexis in January 2022. If you wish to read the full article, please visit LexisNexis website.

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Oliver Schneider-Sikorsky is a barrister specialising in business crime, regulatory investigations, and general criminal litigation. His practice centres on defending the liberty, assets, and reputation of High Net Worths (HNWs) and their family members.

Oliver’s clients are public figures, politically exposed persons, and HNWs in the business, finance, and entertainment sectors. He regularly coordinates complex cross-border defensive engagements for individuals and international family offices with sophisticated financial arrangements or business affairs.

Cindy Laing is a solicitor specialising in business crime and serious and general crime. Cindy has had particular experience in advising high-profile individuals facing complex criminal investigation and prosecution for sexual offences brought the CPS, as well as fraud, bribery and corruption offences brought by the SFO and the FCA.

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