Skip to main content

Magistrate quits after Twitter use complaints

Is airing public knowledge on the internet really a problem?

A Shropshire magistrate has resigned his position after 16 years on the bench in Telford after complaints were made about his using Twitter to discuss court cases.

Steve Molyneux quit the unpaid post after an anonymous court official complained that he had been airing details of cases on the microblogging site.

Public knowledge

The fact that everything he reported was already in the public domain and would likely have been in local newspapers anyway, didn't seem to sway the complainant.

Molyneux defended himself - on Twitter, of course - saying, "If anything can demonstrate Justice can be seen to be done and reported to the people it is Twitter." He also said the issue became one of trust as he felt uncomfortable about not knowing who had moved against him.

No wrongdoing

Speaking to the BBC, he added: "I was using the technology after hearing a remand case just to inform local people and others that follow me in my role of magistrate and didn't think I'd done anything wrong."

He also repeated his desire to see the court system use tools like Twitter to ensure a more open process that is as transparent as possible.