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Dublin: 6 °C Tuesday 22 October, 2019

Second man arrested over Facebook posts about Michael Le Vell trial

Police have warned Facebook and Twitter users not to identify the victim in the case.

Image: Dave Thompson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A 45-YEAR-OLD man in Manchester has become the second person arrested for posting information that could identify the alleged victim in a high-profile rape trial in the UK.

Officers said the man was detained after a post was put on Facebook in relation to the ongoing trial of Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell. He was questioned on suspicion of breaching laws in relation to the anonymity protection of victims of sexual offences but has since been released on bail.

Earlier this week, a 43-year-old man from the Gloucester area was arrested for a similar offence and a third social media user has also been interviewed by Greater Manchester Police over tweets posted about the case.

Under the Sexual Offences Amendment Act 1992, all victims of sex abuse are automatically granted anonymity for life.

Officers in Manchester say they have been made aware of similar comments on social media sites and are investigating the matters.

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Bridge, said: “This case has attracted huge interest and we have seen enormous amounts of comment and personal opinion across social media.

“I want to be explicitly clear – victims of sexual abuse, whether the offences are alleged or proven, are automatically granted anonymity for life and identifying such victims, either deliberately or inadvertently is a criminal offence.

I also want to stress that ignorance of the law is not a defence and we take these matters very seriously.

“This is the second person to be arrested and a third has been interviewed under caution since the start of the trial because of comments on social media.

“We are monitoring social networks and people are reporting matters to us so it is simply not worth the risk.”

Read: Rape trial hears Coronation Street star told girl she would ‘die’

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