How social media and text messaging can be used against you in legal matters

It seems as though everyone these days has at least one social media account or more. Sites such as Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram each have over 100 million users each and facebook boasting 1,490 users! . People are spending on average 28% of their time on social media.

It is not surprising then that more and more lawyers are looking to social media for evidence across a variety of different cases.  How many times have you seen someone in your news feed post something negative about their workplace, their partner or some other aspect of their life? Such posts that are made in a moment of heightened emotion can be used by another party as evidence against you at a later point in time.

The most prevalent use of social media evidence are as follows:

·         Family Law: Posts made by highly emotional parties, some of which may contain threats, derogatory language and statements which are harmful to the other party may be printed out and annexed to affidavits to be used as evidence in family law matters. Similarly, text messages are also easily accessed and able to be used as evidence.

·         Criminal Law: In criminal law generally pictures or statements “bragging” online (whether knowingly or not) have been useful to prosecutors in order to prove their case. In one recent case which recently went ‘viral’ a couple in Ohio, USA, that had robbed a bank had posted comments in addition to posting pictures of themselves with large amounts of money. This assisted in their capture and conviction.

·         Compensation claims (injuries to person): In one case a man that had claimed his knee was so badly injured that he could barely walk later ‘checked in’ on facebook at a 10km running event. This was followed by a picture of himself at the completion of the run with the caption “proud of myself, ran most of the way my first 10km event”. This was later used as evidence by the respondent and insurer to deny him any monetary compensation.

Once something is posted, it takes only one second for it to be saved externally to the medium being used. Having regard to the above, take time to think before you post in future, it might save you a lot more grief in the future.

Whitelaw McDonald Solicitors are highly experienced in all the areas of law mentioned in this article, and more. For assistance with your legal matter call us today on 49418999.

By Kaela Carter, Solicitor