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Police say website comments not illegal

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on February 22, 2007

 Police say website comments not illegal

By MAGGIE TAIT – NZPA | Thursday, 22 February 2007

A website that carried a posting by someone who said they wanted to beat up Green Party MP Sue Bradford has been closed.

It was unclear if it the closure of the Cyfswatch website was permanent.

Meanwhile, police have told NZPA that the comments made on the site did not break any laws.

Police diplomatic protection squad Sergeant Ron Lek told NZPA that the posting was written in such a way it skirted breaking the law.

The posting raised the prospect of assassinating the MP, who has a member’s bill before Parliament to remove the right of parents to smack children to correct them.

The legislation takes away the defence of reasonable force against assault of a child under Section 59 of the Crimes Act.

The author says they would like to punch Ms Bradford and break her nose and gave a graphic account about other injuries that would be inflicted.

“We’ve had legal advice to say basically no criminal offence has been committed as yet,” Mr Lek said.

“But we’re obviously concerned as far as the implications in the blog goes.”

Mr Lek said it was not legal to make threats.

“But the way it was worded it was not a direct threat as such. It’s couched in a way it – possibly cleverly or by pure luck – that the person doesn’t commit an offence.”

Mr Lek said police would try find out who was behind the posting.

When asked if security for Ms Bradford had been increased Mr Lek said the DPS do not comment on individual security matters.

Ms Bradford yesterday told reporters she was alarmed at the posting which “details a graphic physical assault on me and asks people to send in my home address”.

“I’ve referred it to the police here at Parliament and I’m quite concerned about my physical safety at this time.”

The website also said it would publish Ms Bradford’s residential address if it was supplied.

The anonymous posting suggests Ms Bradford should be killed.

“Bradford is a worthy candidate for NZ’s first political assassination – I only wish I had the resources to do it.”

The website was set up to criticise Child, Youth and Family Services (CYF) and caused controversy with a “name-and-shame” blog which provided personal information about individual social workers.

Google ordered it to remove some posts that were not compliant with its terms of service.

Ms Bradford said she hoped her address was not in the public domain and she would consider getting protection.

“I’ve asked my secretary to go straight to the Parliamentary police to let them know that I am worried now. I wasn’t before,” she said.

“There have been occasional threats in the past but the fact they are trying to track down my address at the same time as describing a graphic and quite horrible assault on me is distressing at this time in the Parliamentary debate.”

She said the incident reflected the campaign some of her opponents had whipped up around the debate.

“Some of the parents who want to defend the parents right to hit their kids seem quite fanatical and I think this threat against me is the latest manifestation.”

Ms Bradford’s bill passed its second reading last night, to move one step closer to becoming law.

Ms Bradford said she hoped the site had been closed permanently. She had been contacted by other people abused on the site.

“They’re saying to me ‘now you understand how bad it is’,” she told NZPA.

“If that website could be closed down, that would be fantastic. It isn’t just about me.”

Ms Bradford said she was not getting special security at this stage.

“I’m hoping that the emotions that have been aroused will calm down as they realise that the democratic processes of this country need to take place and threatening to kill people is really anathema to democracy.”

Internet commentator David Farrar said he expected that Google, that own the blog host had decided to delete the site.

He said there was no question the latest posts would have breached its terms of service agreement.

It was possible the site’s authors may try get another host.

6 Responses to “Police say website comments not illegal”

  1. mandy jane said

    What an insignificant hoot.

    Google gets cold feet.

    Cyfswatch will just move elsewhere…. and make a name for its new host.

    Laughing my arse off.

  2. Jules said

    until they do the same thing again and clearly breach terms of service, and then cry about free speech

    do they even know what terms of service are?

  3. Bert said

    Freedom of speech must be accompanied by responsibility. Cyfswatch showed none.

  4. Khaki said

    This time next week nobody will give a shit what Cyfswatch is.

    People are only temporarily interested in how pathetic they are. Hits are up now because it’s like a sideshow. But once everybody has seen the freaks the novelty will wear off and they’ll fuck off back to internet crackpotville.

    And Rod, you’re 46? Cut out the crap and go back to being a web developer and fucking around on torrents.

  5. Yolande Jeffares said

    Here is a copy of my second to last post to CYFSWATCH

    Police watch Parliament after threats
    21/02/2007 16:08:08

    Police say threats against Sue Bradford on a controversial website are difficult to act upon as they are anonymous.

    The Green MP has been targeted on the name and shame Cyfswatch website, by people upset at her anti-smacking bill, which gets its second reading tonight. The post says Ms Bradford is worthy of being the subject New Zealand’s first political assassination. The blog also asks for her residential address.

    Diplomatic Protection Squad head Inspector Bruce Blaney says if the comments break the law, police will prosecute. But he says finding the culprits is often impossible. Inspector Blaney will send officers if there is any threat of unrest at the vote in Parliament tonight and keep an eye on Parliament this afternoon.

    Ms Bradford is distressed at the threats, saying the smacking debate has obviously turned very nasty. She says the threats are indicative of some of the people who are campaigning against her. Ms Bradford says it is disgraceful a member of Parliament can be treated this way.

    A vocal critic of the anti-smacking bill is also condemning the threats to harm the Green MP. Family First spokesman Bob McCoskrie says the smacking debate does not warrant personal threats against people with opposing views. He says he understands the frustration some people are feeling, but says the maturity of a country is shown through its ability to debate issues and find solutions, without resorting to threats.

    Yolande responds,

    While I do think the comments were probably unwise, it has been interesting to see the haste with which they have been taken out of context and used for political gain by Sue Bradford (Hmmm perhaps Sue Bratforce would have been a name better suited).

    Now please do correct me if I am mistaken but I was under the impression that in order to be a threat there must be an expression of INTENT? What I read was “I would like to ….” NOT “I intend to” nor “I am going to…”

    What strikes me as more revealing is the haste with which this PERCEIVED “threat” is being responded to by contrast to the utter lack of demonstrative concern being shown within the Beehive for the threat to thousands of our children, young people and their families … which only received an eventual non-commital response.

    If only this country regarded the welfare of the children and the young of this nation as highly as it values the likes of Sue Bradford.


    My response to subsequent posts by CYFWATCH was quite different.

    I was actually strongly opposed to CYFWATCH’s threatening to publish Sue Bradfords private details unless the bill was withdrawn and extreemly opposed to their claiming they would be in no way responsible for any consequences of their actions.

    I had years of CYFs social workers demanding their will be done and making threat against me and my daughter should I not comply or conform – social workers who refused to take responsibility for the consequences of their decisions and actions.

    THAT was the very thing I stood in opposition to so, to see CYFWATCH behave in the same manner as if it was ok for them but not for Sue Bradford or CYFS social workers disturbed me.

  6. Jay said

    Hell the guys who got Cyfswatch up and running were pioneers. Hic-cups do happen along with stuff-up.Some of the previous comments here sound awfully like how cyfs workers talk to some parents!
    The main point is, if cyps were the honest, law abiding humanistic persons they claim to be, Cyfswatch would never had to happen.
    Sadly ; the negitive side of cyps has wrecked innocent parents, destroyed familys and caused untold harm, stress, depression and a lot more.
    Cyps can be a nasty vindictive pack of prise bastards. The words used is:Cyfs Culture! Or should I say term used.
    As to this being a side show or Cyfswatch or similar, this is a coming together of many groups, who share same abuse by govt Depts and Parents, being able to fight back. Remember, part of Act cyfs work under,
    stops parents from getting help from the media.
    This fact pisses many of us off.
    When labour came to power, the new Minister of Justice Phil Goff stated
    on the steps of parliament”All govt Depts & agentcys must be held accountable. Everyone one in Govt, even Ministers.”
    M>T> WORDS>

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