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Facebook post of murder-trial pic lands teen in jail

Technically Incorrect: A British teen goes to court to see his friend tried for murder. He takes pictures and posts one with a provocative caption. A judge is not impressed.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


There are limits on Facebook too.

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If a friend of yours had beaten another man to death in what a court called an "unprovoked, sustained and brutal" attack, would you go to court to support him?

This is what 19-year-old Damien Parker-Stokes chose to do when his friend Ryan Sheppard was tried and convicted of murder.

However, as the Press Association news agency reports, his support didn't stop there.

He took five pictures and a video of the court proceedings and posted one of the photos to Sheppard's Facebook page.

It enjoyed a caption that included the words, "Respect g at least u had the balls to admit it ..."

Parker-Stokes and another friend, 18-year-old Kyle Cox, got in trouble with the court after the posting was noticed. Cox had also posted the photo taken by Parker-Stokes, but Cox's caption had been, "Ride or die certified south west g."

Cox subsequently apologized to the court and received a sentence that involves him promising not to commit any more offenses for the next six months.

Parker-Stokes, on the other hand, offered no apology and was given a 15-month jail sentence.

The lord chief justice, Lord Thomas, was deeply unimpressed with Parker-Stokes' behavior. He said Parker-Stokes had mocked the administration of justice and caused the victim's family distress.

"This court will punish with very severe sentences anyone who photographs in court and who aggravates that offense by posting them on the internet," Thomas said.

It might seem obvious to many that taking pictures of court proceedings and posting them to Facebook isn't a fine idea.

Parker-Stokes, though, isn't the first to be accused of contempt of court via Facebook.

Earlier this year, a UK drug dealer who had received a suspended sentence chose to leap to Facebook and mock the judge in the case. The judge called him back to court, unsuspended his sentence and put him inside for two years after all.

Many seem to think that Facebook is now the people's medium for instant, constant, unedited broadcasting.

They may forget that not everyone who sees the broadcast will admire it.